As we approach the end of 2022, Rob Ferris, CEO of Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd reflects upon the importance of commitment to social value and how it will shape the year ahead.
The end of the year is traditionally a popular time for reflection on our personal, business and community lives. 2022 has been a notable year for the world moving forwards from the COVID pandemic and has seen considerable growth in business activity, despite ongoing challenges such as the war in Ukraine, the Cost-of-Living Crisis, and global economic difficulties. Despite this, I think these challenges have helped to galvanise people’s resolve to make our society better and more equal, and that is certainly the case when it comes to Konica Minolta and our team’s unwavering commitment to social value.
Appreciating social value
If you aren’t already aware, social value in the context of a business or organisation is a means to creating additional social, economic, and environmental wellbeing above and beyond the ‘core’ value of the service on offer. At Konica Minolta, delivering social value is a key part of our Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy, which ensures that as a business and a team of people we are responsible to the wider communities we live and work in, as well as delivering our products and services to customers.
This commitment to people, places, and the environment is ingrained in Konica Minolta as a global business, but it is also vitally important at even the most local of levels. As well as supporting national causes, we have refocussed on a place-based approach to social value. This means understanding the most challenging issues and opportunities in the communities where our employees and customers are and collaborating with others to make the biggest impact.
To us at Konica Minolta, ‘community’ literally means all of us. Our employees and customers, and the communities in which they live, work and play are at the heart of everything we do. This includes taking into account challenges faced by residents of all ages, along with schools, charities, community organisations, and local authorities. This commitment is very well illustrated by Konica Minolta’s support for the Crisis at Christmas campaign from the excellent Crisis charity, which runs in December and early January and strives to support people struggling with homelessness – which is particularly apparent at this time of year. Crisis sets up residential and day care centres and offers various services — from medical, dental, financial, and counselling services to social and sports activities, as well as providing over 31,000 meals as part of the campaign. As a technology specialist, our role is supporting Crisis through The Aimar Foundation, which helps charities achieve their aspirations through the efficient implementation, application, and utilisation of technology. We have once again provided our class leading technology solutions to Crisis sites located throughout Greater London, over the Christmas period. These printing and document workflow capabilities help people stay connected with friends and family through online services and paper-based communications. Providing people with the ability to print necessary documents and information to improve their circumstances, these online services are vital for everyone and open a world of opportunities to reach out.
With a large percentage of our team and customers based in Greater London, we are acutely aware of the plight of homeless people in the UK capital. Crisis is a very dear charity for me and the team, making a real difference to people’s lives and wellbeing (in 2020-21 alone Crisis helped to find safe and secure accommodation for 1,569 people).
Sadly, the UK still has a very high level of income inequality compared to other developed nations. Statistics from the Equality Trust suggest that the richest 10% of households in the UK hold a staggering 44% of the wealth, whilst the poorest 50% (by stark contrast) have only 9%. Put simply, there is a big gap between opportunities for people who often live relatively close to one another.
Levelling up means giving everyone, in all parts of the UK, the same opportunities to make the most of their lives1. Konica Minolta’s approach seeks to address some of this inequality and supports initiatives to address the priority issues each area is facing in alignment to our commitments.
Konica Minolta’s social value commitments
Recognising that every community is unique, the way we put these commitments into practice is always place based – from the priority issues we connect with stakeholders on and the initiatives we
deliver, to the way we support local businesses or charities and contribute to wellbeing. We focus on delivering these commitments through our activities, which include:
Advancing equal opportunities - Supporting disadvantaged and underrepresented groups and individuals to gain valuable experience, skills, and job opportunities.
Bridging the digital skills gap - Empowering people with the competence and capabilities to improve the digital skills needed for work and life.
Reducing our carbon footprint - Seeking to not only support the move to a carbon neutral economy but aiding others with the transition, supporting us all and future generations along with the natural world.
Protecting our local environment - Promoting the protection, restoration and sustainable use of our environment and ecosystems, with a focus on halting biodiversity loss and driving recovery.
Championing mental health and wellbeing at work - Addressing risks to mental health and wellbeing at work and influencing change where we can from an institutional, community and individual level.
Embracing local communities and partnerships - Understanding local challenges and where we can deliver meaningful change in the areas where we live and work.
Making a difference
At the end of the day, all these efforts are driven by the good nature and selfless giving of time and resources by people. Konica Minolta may be a business, but it is powered by our people and as an organisation we actively support the endeavours of our people to make a difference to the communities that are dear to them.
Each year, all our employees in the UK are given one day on top of their annual holiday allowance to carry out volunteer activities of their own choice and to give back to their local community. We also support our new Social Value Working Group, which will help to develop our social value approach and deliver our commitments through organising activities, managing our charity and partner relationships, and driving engagement.
Our support for Crisis at Christmas addresses a number of our social value commitments but we are always aware there are many more opportunities to make a difference. We are likely to see more challenges ahead in 2023, sadly that is inevitable in a turbulent world, but we can all make a difference through even the smallest act of kindness and support for others.
On behalf of the whole team at Konica Minolta I would like to wish you a happy and safe festive period and a New Year of possibilities and opportunities.
Chief Executive Officer, Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd
London, UK |
24 November 2023
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