CSR is a fundamental part of the business ethos at Aberdeen – it forms part of the company’s business strategy, as well as playing a key role in how it operates and manages money around the world. This is increasingly important to Aberdeen – a FTSE 100 company – which now operates on the ground from 31 offices in 23 countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas.
Essentially, CSR is, for Aberdeen, the belief that it can offer better shareholder value by enhancing whatever sphere their global activities touch. Ultimately, communication and transparency help Aberdeen to reduce risk, improve business performance and build beneficial relationships – all ingredients necessary for Aberdeen to achieve its goal of being a world-class business as well as an exemplary corporate citizen.
Aberdeen’s CSR Strategy has seven pillar areas; people, community, the environment, health and safety, suppliers, corporate governance and responsible investing. The seven pillars of CSR provide a structure to Aberdeen’s strategy, helping the company to keep track of, and improve, its impact on society and the environment wherever it operates.
- Reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 3% per full time employee (FTE) in UK offices
- Improving access to video conference facilities
- Maintaining recycling levels at UK sites
- The creation of the Aberdeen Charitable Trust
- Development of graduate and intern programmes
- Creation of apprenticeship programme
- Operating the OECD framework in its Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises – encouraging employment practices that foster openness, sustainability, and respect for employees’ rights
In 2012, Aberdeen Asset Management created the Aberdeen Charitable Foundation to formalise and develop Aberdeen’s charitable giving and work. It has two main themes:
Emerging Markets – Commitment to develop a number of strategic partnerships with charities tackling the educational needs of disadvantaged young people in countries where the Group invests. An emerging market will be selected annually by the Foundation (Brazil in 2012) and employees will have the opportunity to vote for a project in that country which will receive support over a three year period.
Local Communities -Each international Aberdeen office has established its own charity committee, whose remit is to manage local giving activities and to promote volunteering.
The Foundation selected the ABC Trust (dedicated to helping vulnerable children) in Brazil and made a three year commitment with an initial six-figure donation.
Other examples of Aberdeen’s CSR initiatives include the creation of an apprenticeship scheme for school leavers to complement the company’s intern and graduate programmes. The company also grants volunteer leave to all staff, has encouraged more than 10% of staff to donate to charity via salary sacrifice, and offering a cycle to work scheme.
A key element of Aberdeen’s CSR strategy is its sponsorship of local, national and international sporting and community events. Aberdeen is the headline sponsor for events large and small in the territories in which it operates from Cowes Week to the Scottish Open; the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia to the Aberdeen Universities’ Boat Race; The Scottish Traditional Boat Race to Swiss Highland Games; and Scottish Hockey to the Melrose Sevens rugby tournament.
Many of Aberdeen’s sponsorships focus on goals of athletic or cultural achievement and the company has established a reputation for fostering young talent in their sporting and academic endeavours across the globe.
Chief Executive of Aberdeen, Martin Gilbert says, “At Aberdeen, we aim to take on sponsorships of events where we can actively make a difference to the patrons of the event and the surrounding community. We are always honoured to be associated with long-established events, and are delighted to play our part in ensuring that events like the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival and the Dad Vail Regatta remain fixtures on their local event calendar. We have sponsored Cowes Week since 2011, and are signed up as title sponsor until the end of 2015. The event was without a sponsor for two years before Aberdeen stepped in and secured the regatta’s future financially. One of Aberdeen’s objectives is to make the event as accessible to competitors and visitors as possible, and we have worked with Cowes Week Ltd to bring down entry fees and to improve the event experience for spectators.”
“Aberdeen Asset Management is also a long-standing, proud supporter of golf and sponsoring the Scottish Open was a logical progression in our support for the Scottish game. It is our biggest sponsorship property and the tournament’s coverage reaches a global audience.”
“It is important for Scotland to annually host this world-class, international event, bringing the best golfers in the world and golf fans from around the globe to the ‘Home of Golf’. The three year deal shows our commitment to keeping the tournament in Scotland and supporting local business, as we look to grow the prestige of the tournament even further in a combined effort with Event Scotland and the European Tour.”
“When we commit to sponsor an individual, team or event, we do so wholeheartedly and always look to add value to the mutual benefit of both parties. We also try to integrate our other sponsorship activities where possible, and as such will be involving the Scottish male and female amateur golfing bodies, the SGU and SLGA, both of whom we have supported for a long time, as much as we can in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.”
*Issued by Aberdeen Asset Managers Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK. www.aberdeen-asset.com