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Sustaining belief

New research shows that 88 percent of employees would prefer to work for an organisation that runs its business sustainably

New research shows that 88 percent of employees would prefer to work for an organisation that runs its business sustainably.

UBM, one of the largest exhibition organisers in the world recently carried out a corporate responsibility survey among its customers. It asked about if they thought that the organisation they work for reflected their own personal values; what attributes are important to them when considering a new employer and to what extent they supported charities and the community in which they operate. Encouragingly, the research revealed that 88.1 percent of respondents would prefer to work in an organisation that takes sustainability seriously and almost the same number agreed that the company they currently work for reflects their personal values.

These figures also reflect the growing importance of CR across all areas of business – from staff retention to winning more customers. Employee engagement is crucial to business success and factors like company volunteering programmes and charitable giving can make a huge difference. The UBM research showed that 77 percent of businesses support at least one charity but just 54 percent run a volunteering programme whilst 30 percent had a matched giving scheme.

Doing their bit for charity and employee engagement In March 2011 UBM put their expertise as event organisers to work as part of its own CR programme and launched Responsible Business – a two-day exhibition – at London’s Business Design Centre. The event comprised an exhibition featuring 150+ charities – UBM ‘donated’ stand space and furniture to give charities of all sizes an equal opportunity to engage with over 2,000 visitors from the world of business – and the BITC Responsible Business Convention.

In addition, it ran a series of free seminars and workshops aimed at helping charities to operate more successfully and businesses to achieve their own CR goals through mutually beneficial partnerships with charities and social enterprises. UBM staff were encouraged to donate their time and expertise to help exhibitors get the best out of the two days and many of the suppliers that they used for the event reduced their rates to reflect the spirit of the Responsible Business Exhibition.

Ruth Carter, ceo of UBM Conferences commented “Everywhere I looked there were UBM folk working hard to make this event a success. This was done graciously, energetically, passionately and without any consideration to the fact that it was ‘outside the day job’. It made me incredibly proud.” The event attracted over 2,000 people and had some amazing outcomes. Amie Willenberg of HSK (Harambee Schools Kenya) and a UBM staff member commented: “As a small charity this event gave us opportunities that we would never normally be able to take part in.  We met some great and interesting prospects and were able to get some top tips from other charities. We also found a new trustee and had an anonymous donation which will make a huge difference to our campaigns.”

Another opportunity to engage with charities and social enterprises Building on the success of the inaugural event, Responsible Business 2012 has just been launched. Once again the event will feature 150+ exhibitors – from micro, community-based charities run solely by dedicated volunteers to major national and international charities with vast experience. Issues covered will also be diverse including youth, education, employment, health, special needs, culture, sport, technology, environment and homelessness. The exhibition will be a great opportunity for HR professionals to find out how working with charities and social enterprises can help deliver greater employee engagement and improve staff retention.

The BITC Responsible Business Convention, running alongside the exhibition, will bring together global business leaders for a two-day top level conference delivering practical solutions and insights to help businesses create long-term social, economic and environmental value. It features a full stream of sessions on Employee Engagement delivering key insights from companies including: American Express, BT, BBC, National Grid, Proctor & Gamble, Santander, Microsoft, Edelman and UKCES .

To find out more about Responsible Business 2012 and to register visit

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