Introduction by Tracy Jones
Blaser Mills Law Responsible Business Director
I was a lawyer and partner for most of my career, working at a range of firms, including some significant regional practices. It has always struck me that more care could be taken with the most important assets that the firms had to hand. Firstly the people – clients, employees, professional referrers and contacts; secondly the community – the firm’s involvement in, and relationships with, the community; and lastly of the environment- why were some firms failing to implement even basic environmentally friendly actions such as recycling?
On joining Blaser Mills Law in 2017 my first impression was that this firm was different to the others that I had experienced.
Rather than hierarchy and glass ceilings there were open doors and open conversations. Employees were regularly given (and took) opportunities to take on extra responsibilities and the scope to achieve promotion was far in excess of anything I had seen elsewhere. I noticed the diversity within the firm, again a welcome change from other law firms I’d seen. Staff were getting involved in community projects and recycling was well and truly on the agenda. The firm’s values were not just nice words on a website: they really were lived and breathed.
Of course, there is a term that covered the things that I was passionate about: “Responsible Business”. The phrase covers so many different areas: from engaging with clients and employees to help shape the firm’s policies and procedures; ensuring that inclusion and diversity is top of the agenda; empowering employees to achieve their potential; fully engaging with communities, to making sure that the business operates in a way that has the least impact on the environment as possible. And this is in no way an exhaustive list.
With the firm already having established such an impressive starting point, my interest in Responsible Business continued to grow and I began talking to the management executive about applying a fully cohesive structure to the numerous, but disconnected, excellent initiatives already happening within the firm. I am pleased to say that the management executive immediately agreed, and I now speak to you as the firm’s first Responsible Business Director.
The firm is now very clearly on the path of being the most responsible business it can be.
With myself as a dedicated Responsible Business Director and as members of Business In The Community (BITC), the firm is fully committed to this cause and we are making further positive changes in all areas of the business.
From the management executive through to our support team, our staff are engaged and motivated and a culture of responsibility is blossoming. We now have a working Diversity and Inclusion Forum who help to shape the firm’s D&I policy and initiatives, and my aim is that we will soon have forums to cover many other areas of responsible business.
Our fantastic staff are at the heart of our business and to have them co-creating projects with our clients, other members of staff and the community is something that I find hugely satisfying. As a group we will move forward in our responsible business journey and take on more ambitious programmes as we grow.
Our responsible business strategy is constantly evolving and we know that there is lots of work still to do. But we are ambitious, enthusiastic and united in a desire to make improvements and be the best that we can be. And we do it all with smiles on our faces. To be a part of initiatives creating positive changes for our firm, for our clients, for our communities and our planet…. well, what’s not to smile about?
Responsible Business Director
Responsible Business Director
Blaser Mills Law has already shown the lead for regional law firms in the UK on inclusion, diversity and opportunities to level up. It’s impressive to now see Dave, Tracy and the team expand that leadership to include environmental issues and sustainability in their offices and operationsPeter Lacy
ACCENTURE – CHIEF RESPONSIBILITY OFFICER
AND GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY SERVICES LEAD
We don’t know everything. Far from it. But we are always open to looking to fill the gaps in our knowledge or experience by seeking expert help from elsewhere. Our membership of Business in the Community (BITC) is the prime example of this and our relationship with BITC is the backbone of our responsible business journey.
BITC are a business-led member organisation, originally founded over 40 years ago by HRH The Prince of Wales.
BITC are the leading Responsible Business organisation in the UK, hugely well respected in the business community with members including household names such as Google, J Sainsbury, British Airways, National Grid and Facebook, to name but a few.
BITC operate on the fundamental belief that the prosperity of business and society is inextricably linked, and define a responsible business as a healthy business; putting the creation of healthy communities and a healthy environment at the centre of its strategy. BITC’s vision is shown in its Responsible Business Map, and provides a framework for us to use, where we can focus on each of the different areas highlighted, from the health and wellbeing of our staff through to climate action.
Education and guidance is provided by BITC on how to create a responsible business. Their mentoring, webinars, workshops, online information and toolkits are all invaluable. Much of the education material is free and I urge you to take a look at their website www.bitc.org.uk to see how you might use them in your own responsible business journey.
BITC also offer an annual review to measure the progress of a businesses’ responsible business endeavours – The Responsible Business Tracker. This shows a business where they have made progress and where to focus their efforts on moving forward and is something we find a huge help in pointing us towards areas where we can make improvements and never stand still.
We welcome and value the guidance and challenge that BITC provide to help us define our responsible business strategy.
For further information please see www.bitc.org.uk