Later today I will be speaking at the launch of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce 2017/18 awards. I will be encouraging charities and businesses to enter the Chamber’s new award for partnerships between third sector organisations and businesses. It’s very exciting next step in the Chamber of Commerce’s developing commitment to bringing social justice into the heart of its ambitions for Edinburgh, and it’s been a privilege to have been part of the journey so far.
There can’t be many Chambers of Commerce who have the depth of vision to place social justice at the heart of their work. What the Edinburgh Chamber has understood is that prioritising social justice isn’t something we do for others, it’s an expression of the values of the Chamber and of the City it serves. Settled communities are the bedrock of a settled marketplace. The Chamber believes that a more socially just city, built on nurturing relationships and communities, is good for business. Not just because of the financial implications on the bottom line, but because it’s good for the life, health and wellbeing of customers and staff. It’s a human approach to business which is built on the belief that doing good will also mean doing well.
The award will affirm how long-term, sustainable 3rd sector/business partnerships are a key element of building the City and the communities that form it.
The criteria for the award are:
- A sustainable relationship over more than one year
- How the partnerships played to the core strengths of the partners
- Evidence of how the partnership helped improve in both organisations performance
- Evidence of financial and non-financial legacy
- Clear social impact
When we introduce the award we will also ask those present to make one or more of the following pledges:
- Offer their business to be matched with a charity to develop an ongoing relationship
- Make an in-kind offer of product, equipment or access to other resources
- Make a specific pro bono skills (i.e. professional skills not simply volunteering to paint a room) offer for a charity (we’ll find charities who could use these skills as part of the promotion of developing new relationships)
- Offer their premises to host a matchmaking event (we’d need a flexible space for hopefully around 100 people and some refreshments)
This means the award can be the catalyst for many more relationships developing over the years. It’s also a sign of how those relationships, inspired by the Chamber of Commerce’s commitment to social justice, can be a new and vibrant form of civic leadership, modelling the kind of City and Communities we all want to live in.