Responsible Business, Kirsty Green-Mann
Kirsty is Head of Corporate Responsibility at Burges Salmon LLP, a Bristol based commercial law firm. Thanks to Kirsty’s leadership skills in the field of CSR, the company recently won awards for its innovative and impactful approach to responsible business.
Kirsty joined Purposely Podcast to share her expertise on responsible business.
How did you get your job?
'I pushed my employer at the time to sponsor me to do an MBA in business and then after that I joined the corporate affairs division and part of that was to review the business's corporate responsibility strategy. I then had maternity leave with my second child and when I returned I was asked if I would head that up globally. I think having had a broader business understanding laid the foundation to successfully move into corporate responsibility. I think this area is a very good home for me in terms of my personal values.’
Is the concept of responsible business now seen as fundamental to success?
‘The acceleration we've seen in the last two or three years is very evident, I think it is a combination of the pandemic and a growing level of climate change awareness. There has also been some key developments in terms of legislation particularly in the investment and finance world. The lights really gone on about how important this is and it is very much mainstream. There is real determination to evolve the more traditional economic model and do things differently.’
What does the social in ESG mean to you and your organisation?
'I think social is very much about those community links as well as the Human Rights element and how this links with workers in the supply chain and those larger global impacts that we have through the supply chain. Social impact is a real focus for us at Burges Salmon and we seek to partner with charities and not for profits we can learn from as well. For example, we've got key partnerships around the environmental agenda, diversity and inclusion, social mobility is a big area of focus for us. However, being able to measure social impact effectively is a challenge, particularly with community work. To offset this we tend to be really focused and invest in long term goals which is much easier and clearer to get that that positive impact.’
What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?
‘We do have a big focus on inclusive employment and this spans across the company, how people are supported within the firm, how we approach resourcing. We've been increasingly focused on community outreach and a real focus on disability inclusion, sexual orientation, gender balance and . ethnicity issues and priorities. We've actively looked to partner with community organizations that align with these different areas. In return these organisation can also support us in how we run our business reviewing our recruitment processes, making the workplace more inclusive, reaching out to parts of the community where we can come across as a more friendly employer in it and a viable employment opportunity’.
What’s your secret to influencing key stakeholders to act on important issues?
‘You don't win friends or influence people if you're always a doomsayer. Particularly when you think about the climate crisis and there are tremendous challenges in front of us on that front. The key is to balance talk of the challenges we face with more of a focus on solving the problems.’
What is your advice to others who want to develop effective responsible business strategies?
‘It is really important to focus on materiality, understanding what your core issues are and what's most related to you, your business and your core service, the things that your business is doing day to day. It's important to tackle those issues and see what you can do to lesson negative effects on the environment and communities say. For example, if you're a coal fired power station and you're not doing anything around finding renewable sources of energy as an alternative and instead you're just doing the social impact initiatives it doesn't really carry any weight’
Kirsty Green-Mann is a member of the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability and an Associate member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment. Kirsty has responsibility for framing and driving the responsible business agenda, leading on community engagement and social mobility, addressing business and human rights all in a global context applying the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a guiding framework.