Dragons making a difference
Making a positive social impact and supporting local communities is now an essential part of everyday business for many firms, as highlighted by the Dragon Awards, says Lord Mayor Charles Bowman.
September was a big month for responsible business in London as we honoured the capital’s firms with three major events. Through the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards – London’s top responsible business gongs – we celebrated the companies that are tackling social problems across London and the UK.
Nearly 70 firms were in the running to win a Dragon Award. Across the candidates, we saw a shift from a focus on community volunteering programmes to initiatives supporting social mobility, employability and diversity in the workplace.
Many Dragon Awards applicants have been tackling the skills gap, supporting people from underprivileged backgrounds into careers and uncovering fresh talent through in-house responsibility programmes and partnerships with charitable organisations. For example, Penguin Random House UK won an award for its WriteNow initiative, a campaign that aims to inform, inspire and ultimately publish writers from under-represented backgrounds.
Programmes like this are vital if we are to increase workplace diversity and inspire young people from all walks of life to come to the City and stay.
This year we also launched a new award: The Lord Mayor’s Award – Business of Trust Champion. This follows my mayoral programme, The Business of Trust, which seeks to improve the trustworthiness of the UK financial and professional services sector, as well as the wider business community. Our ambition is to create a lasting legacy of better business trusted by society.
Last month the Square Mile also celebrated City Giving Day, run by the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, when companies and staff across the City showcased their philanthropic and volunteering achievements and encouraged others to get involved. A record number of City businesses signed up to raise awareness and money. It was a hugely successful day.
Our celebration of responsible business practices was enriched further still by the launch of new City Corporation research which showed that the UK Financial and Professional Service sector gave a record £534.5m to charitable causes, with 38% of businesses giving in every region across the UK.
Business is finally stepping up and contributing to tackling some of society’s problems.
Charles Bowman is the 690th Lord Mayor of the City of London, an ICAEW Chartered Accountant and member of the London Society of Chartered Accountants.
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