ADDRESSING THE “S” IN ESG
CARDIFF’S SOCIALLY SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
The concept of social responsibility is that businesses should be good corporate citizens, balancing their core business operations with activities that benefit society, be it on a local, national, or global scale. Consumers are increasingly aware of their ability to influence businesses and want to use their purchasing power to drive positive changes and support brands and businesses that demonstrate commitment to socially responsible and ethical practices.
"There’s growing momentum amongst investors to look at how companies treat their workers and how they benefit society."
The social agenda includes issues such as human capital, supply chains and other aspects of business conduct that can pose a reputational risk to a company and be detrimental to the firm’s ability to attract customers, staff and investors and will ultimately impact profitability. Ethical consumer rankings of retailers in different sectors has been shown to impact consumer choices. As a result, investors are increasingly seeking information on “social” as a stand-alone matter. There’s growing momentum amongst investors to look at how companies treat their workers and how they benefit society.
The problem with assessing the “S” is that many social issues have to be assessed qualitatively rather than quantitatively. Aspects of social responsibility can include employee rights, fair pay, gender equality and responsibly sourced products or ingredients.
The Covid-19 pandemic has served to heighten awareness that companies must consider societal needs and ethical standards. There have been many headlines covering how some businesses have treated their staff during the pandemic, helping to raise public awareness regarding ethical standards for businesses. The European Commission recently issued their largest ever social bond in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the €17 billion issuance will be used to mitigate unemployment risks. The response it has received from the market is evidence of the rising demand from investors to align their investment strategies to a more socially sustainable future.
HOW IS CARDIFF SUPPORTING BUSINESSES IN ADDRESSING THE SOCIAL AGENDA?
CARDIFF – FAIR TRADE CAPITAL
The city of Cardiff has long demonstrated a commitment to ethical shopping and fair trade, recently celebrating its 15th year as a Fair Trade city. Cardiff became the first Fair Trade capital city in the world in 2004 and Wales became the first Fair Trade Nation in 2008, with more than 60 Fair Trade towns across Wales. Cardiff is playing a leading role in shaping future trade and ensuring fairness in our supply chains and hosted the 13th International Fair Trade Towns Conference last year in Cardiff.
WHAT ARE CARDIFF’S TOP EMPLOYERS DOING TO ADDRESS “S” ISSUES?
Aside from their commitment to Fair Trade, businesses in Cardiff are addressing other social issues such as fair pay and gender inequality.
PROMOTING SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY THROUGH URBAN DESIGN
Large scale placemaking schemes are transforming the landscape of Cardiff City Centre. Over the past twenty years schemes such as Capital Quarter, Central Square and Cardiff Bay which includes Mermaid Quarter have helped re-orientate Cardiff’s economy, away from the industrial decline in the 1970’s and 1980’s, towards a modern, sustainable and vibrant city. Attracting professional services, creative industries to foster sustainable economic development alongside city centre living, leisure and tourism and promoting sustainable modes of transport.