Business holds the key to responsible leadership and a positive future

This time last year, I observed that ‘we live in turbulent times, with great uncertainty around many aspects of our lives, whether they be political, economic or environmental’. One year on, there seems to be little evidence that our world is moving in a direction which will ease those concerns. Now, more than ever, businesses of all sizes and across all sectors, need to show leadership in ensuring that we plan for, and contribute to, a positive future.

At the Henderson Group, we package our responsible business activities under our ‘Tomorrow Matters’ brand. It provides a focus which links directly with our business plan, but enables us to achieve our objectives with sustainability in mind.

As a sponsor of Business in the Community’s employer supported volunteering campaign, Cares, we obtain great benefit from participating and promoting a range of annual practical challenges that any business can get involved in, and we supplement this by ensuring our people have the opportunity and the resources to volunteer throughout the year. We know from feedback and evaluation that the efforts on these challenges can transform the landscape – sometimes literally! – for many small and voluntary sector recipients, not to mention the buzz that it gives our own colleagues.

People are the key to success for any business. We are determined to provide a workplace environment that is healthy and enjoyable. In the past year, we’ve focused on providing a range of wellbeing programmes, including pedometer challenges, healthstation assessments at our sites, and access to funding for healthcare services.

In October 2015, we took our Tomorrow Matters strategy to a new level, by making a commitment to install over 300 life-saving defibrillators outside our stores, giving communities 24/7 access.

We’ve made great progress towards this target, and through our generous customers and communities we have raised funds for 200 machines. Thank you to all who have contributed to this life-changing initiative!

From an environment standpoint, we continue to hold our ISO14001 accreditation. We are committed to ensuring that when we work with our suppliers we seek environmentally friendly products, from LED sensor lighting, both inside and outside the building to investing approx. £25K in converting our lorry charging from diesel charging to electrical charging. We have a team of wardens who are constantly sourcing new initiatives to help us reduce our environmental impacts. By changing some of our waste contractors we have managed to achieve zero waste to landfill – this was a big challenge for us and with the help and encouragement of Business in the Community we continue to find business partners who can help us to strive to do better.

As ever, Responsible Business Week is a great opportunity to bring together all the things we do and take stock of how we are getting on. It’s also a time to learn from other organisations and be inspired by their activities. We’re always looking for new ideas that are practical for our business and of course we want to play our part to make Northern Ireland a better place in which to live and work.

I hope other businesses will join us during Responsible Business Week (24 – 28 April) #RBweek and embrace the benefits of GOOD business, making life better for everyone.