This year UpSlide celebrated its 10th anniversary, and we took this as an opportunity to think about the positive impact we want to have on the world, keeping two objectives in mind:
- Making sure everyone is aware of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy
- Making our first steps towards becoming socially responsible
So, how did we ensure that all the teams across our offices knew what was on our agenda? And how did we launch our first projects? We’ve decided to share our ideas and methods to help you launch your own CSR policy.
To set a CSR policy, you should first start with some serious preparation, including setting objectives, onboarding your project’s advocates and determining activities.
The second step is to ensure the whole company understands the importance of the project and is fully invested in it.
Finally, you should have a plan for small initiatives, as well as more significant ones. Start with your quick wins, but take the time to develop a long-term plan for your CSR strategy.
This was the first step in taking the project seriously. We set up a team to oversee the project, ensure we met our objectives and implemented all the initiatives. By allowing our employees to sign up independently via an online form, we soon gathered a passionate team of members from all company departments. This strong representation was key to ensuring everyone was on board with the project.
We also thought selecting specific people to become CSR and positive impact captains would be a good idea. These people had already shown a genuine interest in the cause, and we hoped their enthusiasm would inspire others and help gather the troops! John volunteers for WWF every Saturday afternoon? Welcome to the team!
The CSR project was brought forward by the whole company. Corporate Social Responsibilities are part of our global goals. It’s a state of mind, a new way of working.
Once we successfully formed a team, we held a meeting to define the roles of the CSR captains.
Their first task was to make sure that everyone was on board with our mission and that we were all embarking on this adventure together. To kick things off, we set up a workshop and took advantage of our combined brainpower!
To maintain the organization of the project, we opted to use the planning tool Trello, and shared this with each of our CSR captains. This meant we could break down tasks and keep the project moving forward. After the workshops, we made it visible to the wider team so everyone could see the action plans.
Getting everyone on board!
The second stage required raising awareness of how important the responsibilities are to us and their role within the company. Our founders were proud to announce this new strategy to all our employees at our annual company gathering in Malta. Having a positive impact on the environment meant looking at our actions here at UpSlide and at our clients, suppliers and users alike. Having a positive impact is a fundamental part of how our company is run and is now one of our core objectives.
A positive impact has the best interests of both the people and the planet at heart.
To improve, the CSR captains ran fun workshops on various topics, including zero waste, digital pollution, energy consumption, waste sorting and recycling. We took inspiration from the World Cafe’s agile working method – educating and gathering ideas from all participants. In our groups, we quickly and harmoniously found solutions to the problems!
The advantages of this method are:
- Everyone is on the same page. Everyone receives the same information and feels equally accountable for the CSRs. A CSR captain runs and oversees each session, explaining the challenges of specific issues – for example, selecting our suppliers – to different groups.
- Lots of great ideas are uncovered. Once the captains have explained the challenge, the game aims for everybody to write down their solutions to the problems on post-it notes. After holding around ten workshops, we were flooded with bright ideas; giving blood together, avoiding using paper and providing tote bags in the office so people don’t need to take plastic or paper bags when they buy their lunch were just a few.
- You can decide on the first steps together. In the picture below, you can see our ideas on how to solve the issue of plastic waste. We filtered through them and attached a sticker to the ones we thought were the most suitable and achievable – a simple and efficient way of deciding which solutions to progress with!
At first, we only looked to make small steps. Diving headfirst to make significant and radical changes in the early stages can be challenging at a company-wide level. It’s easy to make a small change which will make a big difference – for example, swapping out paper coffee cups for ceramic ones that will last a lifetime. Start making small solid changes to ingrain the idea of social responsibility into our mindset.
To start making a change for the better, we introduced a “no plastic” rule on our trip to Malta, which banned any single-use plastics. We switched to using reusable water bottles in UpSlide’s colours and brought in Vegware cups – made from a material originating from vegetables. Finally, we had the opportunity to try foods from around the world with ‘Meet my Mama’ – a socially responsible food caterer.
After the World Café workshop, we decided to begin launching more significant projects. Spreading our beliefs and methods of working is at the heart of our business. We started expressing the workshop’s ideas and any following changes frequently within the company. We always keep our teams updated when launching new ideas – for example, announcing them at our weekly meetings – to ensure we all stay motivated to make a difference.
…Then go big!
In the long term, we are looking to make an even more significant commitment by participating in charity events or partnering with a charity. Our CSR captain in New York has just arranged a volunteering day out, and in London, we have organized a discounted price plan for NGOs.
As part of this drive to have a positive impact, we are also committed to the B Corp Certification process, which gives credit to companies that do just that.
What is a B Corp certified business?
A B Corp is a business which accepts the strictest standards with respect to social and environmental responsibilities. The goal is to find a balance between purpose and generating profit.
All the B Corporations worldwide form a global community of leaders who believe businesses should do their best for the environment.
Why have the B Corp Certification?
We recognize our company values in the philosophy behind the certification. Our values are:
- Excellence – It’s a challenge to obtain the certification and maintain it. B Corp is a long-term commitment. To keep the certification, businesses must maintain or even better their score, which is re-assessed every three years.
- Trust – The certification brings commitment. Becoming a B Corp changes the social status of our company to officially incorporate responsibility into its DNA. This means our employees, clients and suppliers can trust us to take responsibility for our impact on society and the environment.
- Happiness at work – the label is motivating. We are convinced that working on projects you are proud of and enjoy doing brings happiness to employees. We see B Corp as an essential piece in the driving force of UpSlide, as it brings together all teams and encourages us to work together for positive change.
We believe in being a collective; and that a positive impact is one that benefits everyone.
We aspire to have the best possible impact on society and the environment while remaining profitable! Every little step counts, and we believe that with our 80-person team, we can contribute to a better and brighter future.