Why (and how) we’ve made having a positive impact a priority

This year UpSlide celebrated its 10th anniversary and we took this as an opportunity to think about the impact we have on the world, keeping two objectives in mind:

  • Making sure everyone is aware of our CSRs (Corporate Social Responsibility) 
  • Making our first steps towards becoming socially responsible

So, how did we make sure 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 in order to help you launch your own CSR policy.

1. Our preparation

This was the first step in taking the project seriously. A team was set up to oversee the project and ensure the objectives were met, and that all the initiatives were put into practice. By giving our employees the opportunity to sign up independently via an online form, we soon gathered a passionate team consisting of members from all departments of the company. This strong representation was key to making sure everyone was on board with the project.
We also thought it would be a good idea to select certain people to become CSR captains. These were people who had already showed 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!

Once the team was formed, a meeting was held 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 were able to break down tasks and keep the project moving forward. After the workshops, we made it visible to the wider team so that everyone could see the action plans.

2. 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 of our employees at our annual company gathering in Malta. Having a positive impact on the environment meant looking not only at our actions here at UpSlide, but also those of 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.

In order to improve, the CSR captains decided to run some fun workshops based on a range of different topics including zero waste, digital pollution, energy consumption, waste sorting and recycling.
We took inspiration from the World Cafe’s agile method of working – 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. Each session is run by a CSR captain who oversees explaining the challenges of specific issues – for example selecting our suppliers – to different groups.
  • Lots of great ideas are uncovered. Once the challenge has been explained, the aim of the game is for everybody to write down their solutions to the problems on post-it notes. After holding around 10 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 of these.
  • 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!

3. Start small…

At first, we only looked to make small steps. Diving in headfirst to make large 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 made the switch to using reusable water bottles in UpSlide’s colours and brought in Vegware cups – made from a material which originates from vegetables. Finally, we had the opportunity to try foods from all over the world with ‘Meet my Mama’ – a socially responsible food caterer.

After the World Café workshop, we decided to begin launching bigger projects. Spreading our beliefs and methods of working is at the heart of our business. Ideas expressed at the workshops and the changes that follow are frequently shared within the company. We always keep our teams up to date when launching new ideas – for example announcing them at our weekly meetings – to ensure that we all stay motivated to make a difference.

4… then go big!

In the long term, we are looking to make an even bigger commitment by participating in charity events or even 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 who do just that.

What is a B Corp certified business?

A B Corp is a business which accepts the strictest standards in 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 that businesses should do the best they can for the environment.

Why have the B Corp label?

We recognize our company values in the philosophy behind the certification. Our values are:

  • Excellence – It’s a challenge to obtain the certification and, moreover, maintain it. B Corp is a long term commitment. In order to keep the certification, it’s essential to maintain or even better your 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 in us to take responsibility for the impact we have on both 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 aspire to have the best possible impact on society and the environment around us whilst remaining profitable! Every little step counts and we believe that between our 80 person team we can contribute to a better and brighter future.

Has this article inspired you to launch your own project? Leave a comment!

Do you want to join us on our adventure? Check our job offers!
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