As the year draws to a close and it’s the season to be thoughtful and giving, we wanted to find out how some major sci-tech employers are giving back local communities and future generations through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
Not only is it an important thing for companies to do for the greater good, but CSR is becoming increasingly important for talent attraction.
For professional services company Accenture, climate and sustainability have been key elements to delivering a positive impact in its communities.
“One area of focus over the last year is our corporate environmental sustainability strategy as we look for ways to continually reduce our footprint and integrate sustainability across our operations,” said Deirdre Murphy, corporate citizenship lead for Accenture Ireland.
“Accenture launched its global environmental goals in 2020, which include achieving net-zero emissions, moving to zero waste and planning for water risk, with ambitious targets for 2025. In Ireland, we run our operations using 100pc renewable electricity and we’ve signed up to RE100, a global initiative bringing together businesses committed to 100pc renewable electricity.”
Another initiative connected to its sustainability goals is the Accenture Sustainability Challenge, which was launched earlier this year and is supported by Dublin-headquartered ChangeX.
“The initiative is designed to provide the vital resources required by communities to kick-start sustainability projects in their own locality,” said Murphy.
Amazon Web Services
In September, Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched a €100,000 community fund to support local projects in Drogheda and surrounding areas.
The fund is expected to support up to 25 projects in the community and applicants can seek funding to launch new idea or to expand an existing local project that supports STEAM education, sustainability, or health and wellbeing.
Neil Morris, director of infrastructure operations at AWS, said the fund highlights the company’s continued commitment to both the local community and Ireland as a whole.
“We want to make a positive difference in the communities in which we operate, particularly in areas like health, wellbeing, education and the environment. We’re proud to play a small part in helping to support Drogheda.”
Biotech giant Amgen celebrated 10 years in Dún Laoghaire this year. To mark this anniversary, a quarterly staff vote was held to select a local charity to receive a donation from Amgen.
During the year, €20,000 was donated to organisations supporting children, senior citizens and mental health.
In October, staff participated in a virtual fundraising challenge for Unicef Ireland’s Covid-19 vaccination programme in the developing world, raising a total of €10,000 for the cause.
Throughout the year, the company also maintained its local community partnerships as Amgen staff continued to volunteer virtually for career and science talks with local schools and third-level institutions.
To help future generations, telecoms giant Huawei runs two major scholarship programmes to help STEM students pursue their passion.
Tech4Her is a scholarship programme that offers a total of €90,000 to eligible women students studying STEM subjects across three Irish universities, TU Dublin, University College Dublin and University College Cork.
“Huawei is committed to empowering women by giving them more opportunities to harness the immense potential of digital technology to transform society,” said Tony Yangxu, CEO of Huawei Ireland.
“We hope that our efforts will help close the gender gap in STEM in Ireland and help attract more young women into the ICT industry to drive sustainable and inclusive growth across the country.”
Huawei Ireland has also recently awarded a total of €250,000 in academic scholarships to 50 Irish STEM students as part of its Seeds for the Future programme.
Liberty IT has also continued to run several CSR activities remotely, with six employee groups working in the areas of employee wellbeing, women in technology, STEM, supporting local charities, Pride and the environment.
“Our STEM group has piloted and launched our new remote work experience programme, seizing the new opportunities presented by hybrid working to deliver this to young people across the island of Ireland,” said Cathy Donnelly, senior director of talent.
“Participants learn about coding, product, cybersecurity, the future of tech and CV/interview skills from Liberty IT employees including recent graduates and experienced experts.”
The company’s Women in Tech employee group members also created new mentoring circles and helped pilot a new set of workshops focused on building women’s personal brand and career goals.
“We have continued to focus on employee wellbeing throughout 2021 and, looking into 2022, we will be kicking off the year with a physical activity challenge closely followed by a focus on financial wellbeing,” said Donnelly.
Professional services firm PwC launched two partnerships this year with the Irish Youth Foundation and Pieta House.
The partnerships include fundraising and donations from the company but also offer some professional services pro bono to each organisation as well as opportunities for staff to engage in volunteering throughout the year.
Outside of this, climate action and employee wellbeing are also key areas of focus for the company.
“PwC globally has committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This commitment includes supporting our clients to reduce their emissions as well as reducing those from the PwC network’s operations and suppliers,” said Rachel Power, head of people experience at PwC.
“Earlier this year we signed up to the Business in the Community Elevate pledge, a pledge undertaken by companies who are committed to building truly inclusive workplaces and supporting the broader values of inclusion, equality and opportunity in Irish society,” she said.
Workhuman said it wants to build a better tomorrow for the workplace and the world through human connection and gratitude. In terms of CSR initiatives, the company gives its employees a day a year to volunteer at an organisation that is important to them.
Caoimhe Dunbar, senior ESG and DEI manager, said Workhuman’s employees have given back to organisations such as Tech Goes Home, St Ultan’s School and Care Centre as well as Giving Tuesday.
“Giving Tuesday falls on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving and is a day celebrated globally where people are encouraged to give back to their local communities in a way that is meaningful to them,” she said.
“This year we celebrated Giving Tuesday in a big way. Each employee received a €25 voucher to be used on one of our charity partner sites Global Giving. This is accessible through our cloud platform and gives our humans and users more than 10,000 charities to choose to give back to.”
The company’s employee resource groups also planned activities and events throughout the year, which collectively raised more than €15,000 for a variety of organisations.
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