Get socially responsible with Office Friendly

Office Friendly’s Weaver programme is a way for dealers to effectively answer the ever-more-passionate call of the consumer for greater social responsibility. Getting involved in CSR (corporate social responsibility) goes far beyond adding a few extra green bins to the office – it’s about making the effort to create change can lead to winning more business, reducing costs, motivating your team and, of course, improving sustainability across the board. Office Friendly has put together a strong CSR framework and will hold the dealer’s hand to guide them through each element of what makes a socially responsible business.

  • SMEs account for 45% of UK business energy use
  • An average of 70% of office waste is paper
  • 79% of plastic waste is in landfill
  • Employee turnover decreases by 50% when engaged in corporate social responsibility activities
  • 67% of consumers would prefer to work with sustainable and responsible businesses

Office Friendly’s MD, Julie Hawley, says: “The Weaver programme centres around social sustainability in five areas: carbon footprint, waste management, single-use packaging, sustainable products and social responsibility. The need for it is consumer-driven; we’ve all seen a lot in the news about single-use plastics and the impact of waste, and the need for social responsibility has grown. Suppliers are also changing to reflect that demand too with their product offering. Packaging is changing, the facilities in which they’re produced are changing and there’s the need to give dealers the tools for understanding these products through a new framework.”

The Weaver framework breaks down each element of CSR and makes it far more approachable for dealers. “We’re educating the dealer,” says Julie, “and the dealer tends to engage the junior or apprentice in the team to set it up. That’s brilliant for training purposes by understanding things like electricity consumption, separating waste in the office, creating involvement in community work, writing up case studies and evidencing what they’ve done. It’s also a great niche for getting junior members more confident in an authoritative role – plus, the younger members of the team are more likely to be passionate about CSR.” Dealers also need someone in senior management to recognise that everybody has to come on board so that junior has the support they need.

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Weaver’s framework of actions includes both compulsory and optional elements of CSR in order to allow businesses a ranking of blue, silver or gold – and these rankings are externally assessed by Carbon Smart, an organisation Office Friendly has worked with for 12 years. Dealers on the programme are able to use ‘working towards’ badges on their websites and in their marketing as they progress to new rankings and Julie’s team is there, at every step of the way, to hold the dealer’s hand when they need support.

“Weaver is multi-faceted in that we’re looking for change in the industry,” she explains. “There’s a change coming, consumers are consistently looking to buy from trusted sources; suppliers are reacting to it but the awareness needs heightening with dealers, and we’re there to help. For a long time, in this industry, people have been price focused– and, yes, that’s hugely important – but when you start engaging with social sustainability in your business it opens up a different kind of conversation for dealers and allows new avenues for revenue.

“We’ve had 15 of our members sign up for Weaver since we launched in July, and we’ve got 10 more waiting in the wings to be on-boarded. The members that have come on board have really embraced the concept and have been really appreciative of the support they get from the Office Friendly team to enable them to get up and do this. We feel it’s important to set dealers up for success! Consumers are asking for this already and, if you’re not ready for it, someone else will be.”

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