The Canary Wharf Estate is located in an area of London where many young people do not gain the skills required to move into the job market. So, Canary Wharf Group needs to create a long-lasting impact through indirect economic value.
This case study is based on the 2014 Sustainability Report by Canary Wharf Group published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate that CSR/ sustainability reporting done responsibly is achieved by identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment and stakeholders and by measuring, managing and changing.
On the one hand, companies that identify their most important impacts on the environment and their stakeholders (that can hold them back from reaching their objectives), are able to take specific actions to minimize negative impacts and increase their positive impacts. With procurement, the most important benefit companies enjoy, is that they can gain or retain their social license to operate. Additionally, local sourcing can be a strategy to help ensure supply, increase efficiency in a local setting and maintain community relations.
On the other hand, local communities enjoy the benefits gained from this process, such as stability and growth in economic value. When companies support local companies in their supply chain they can indirectly attract additional investment to the local economy and increase employment.
In developing the Canary Wharf Estate, Canary Wharf Group strives to create economic opportunities for the people living in the areas surrounding its operations. After measuring and setting targets, Canary Wharf Group took action to secure jobs for local people – in 2014, 20% of its recruits were local –, enhance graduate employment, offer internships and placements and support local businesses through a range of initiatives such as the East London Business Place (ELBP) and the South London Procurement Network (SLPN), which in 2014 helped local businesses to win £7.7 million worth of work.
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With this case study you will see:
- Which are the most important impacts (material issues) Canary Wharf Group has identified;
- How Canary Wharf Group proceeded with stakeholder engagement, and
- What actions were taken by Canary Wharf Group to generate employment and create opportunities for local businesses in the Canary Wharf Estate
What are the material issues the company has identified?
In its 2014 Sustainability Report Canary Wharf Group identified a range of material issues: UK’s economic prosperity, housing, tenant & consumer demand & supply, developing the Canary Wharf Estate. Among these, opening up economic opportunities to people living in the areas surrounding its operations within an area of London where many young people are failing to enter the labour market stands out as a key material issue for the Group.
Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:
Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.
Key stakeholder groups the Canary Wharf Group engages with:
- Existing and potential tenants, occupiers and retailers
- Local authorities
How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues
In 2014, the Canary Wharf Group engaged with its stakeholders in the following ways:
- Community Forums
- Community Receptions
- Corporate Social Responsibility Forums
Existing and potential tenants, occupiers and retailers
- Sustainability Forums
- Retail Tenant Forums
- Canary Wharf PR and Communications Forums
- Security and Business Community Forums
- Regular meetings with office occupiers and tenants on a building-by-building basis
- Health and Safety Forums
- East London Business Place (ELBP)
- South London Procurement Network (SLPN)
- Canary Wharf Group Staff Consultative Committee meetings
- Employee environmental awareness training
- Employee focus groups
- Close collaboration with three local authorities (Tower Hamlets, the City of London and Lambeth)
- Transport Forums
- Reporting: the CSR report provides investors with all the CSR information needed (social, environmental and ethical information) to make informed decisions about the Group’s performance and prospects
In its 2014 Sustainability Report Canary Wharf Group set the following targets for generating employment and creating opportunities for local businesses in the Canary Wharf Estate, based on the company’s approach to materiality – on taking action on what matters, where it matters:
- Creating jobs for local people
- In 2014 20% of the Group’s recruits were local.
- 28.1% of the total working population at Canary Wharf reside in the Central Inner East area of London and a further 15% in Central Inner West.
- [tweetthis]More than 10,000 local people were placed, through Skillsmatch, into jobs[/tweetthis] since the Group set it up with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets’ job brokerage team in October 1997.
- Enhancing graduate employment
- October 2014: Canary Wharf Group hosted a two-week training programme for unemployed graduates and provided mentors from Level39, its start-up and financial technology (Fintech) accelerator.
- Canary Wharf Group collaborates with London Works to help local residents and above all graduates gain employment with companies in the City and at Canary Wharf.
- Through its Built Environment Club, held twice a year, the Group invites students on construction-related courses from the higher education institutions in Canary Wharf Group’s local communities to visit its developments.
- Offering internships and placements
- 2014: Canary Wharf Group took on 99 work experience participants. During July and August, the Group took on four placement students for six weeks and also hosted undergraduates from local universities.
- Three Bangladeshi interns joined the Group’s East London Business Place (ELBP) team as business engagement officers.
- Taking initiatives to support local businesses
- 2014: Canary Wharf Group’s total Group spend with companies located near its operations increased to 45%.
- Between 1997 and 2008 the Group’s Local Business Liaison Office (LBLO) helped small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) secure more than £615 million of business with companies on the Estate and in the surrounding area.
- Canary Wharf Group helped establish the East London Business Place (elbp.co.uk) and, more recently, the South London Procurement Network (www.slpn.org.uk).
- By the end of its first year SLPN engaged with 61 buyers and 942 suppliers and helped 300 of them become ready to tender for contracts.
- Using SLPN’s advice, networking, events and workshops registered companies won contracts worth £2.4 million and secured a further £3.1 million of work through Canary Wharf Group’s joint venture with Qatari Diar.
- In 2014 ELBP and SLPN helped local businesses win £7.7 million worth of work.
- Through the Fit for Legacy (FfL) programme SMMEs generated wealth and employment as a result of free assistance with tendering opportunities, finding suppliers or buyers and networking events. The programme provided 569 SMMEs with at least 12 hours of support, helped create 74 new jobs and safeguarded 288 existing roles.
Which GRI indicators/Standards have been addressed?
The GRI indicators/Standards addressed in this case are:
1) G4-EC8: Significant indirect economic impacts, including the extent of impacts – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 203-2 Significant indirect economic impacts
2) G4-EC9: Proportion of spending on local suppliers at significant locations of operation – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 204-1 Proportion of spending on local suppliers
1) This case study is based on published information by Canary Wharf Group, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:
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