The author Charles Dickens, in most of his works, used his storytelling to condemn the industrial revolution. Dickens’ outlook on industry certainly wasn’t friendly; he believed it stole our humanity, encouraged selfishness and ruined nature. At that time, it was impossible to predict minimum wage legislation or child labor regulations, for example. Who could have known that corporate social responsibility (CSR) would one day come to the fore?
IFS is on an exciting Corporate Social Responsibility journey – and proud of it!
Because why wouldn’t, and indeed, why shouldn’t we be?
We are looking forward to seeing how the new CSR program will influence employee engagement. It has been a delight to see colleagues partake so far, and the full extent to which we can have a positive influence on the world around us is yet to be revealed.
Corporate social responsibility has always been something that matters deeply to IFS, but recently we have tried to share our values and activities externally.
Though in its early stages, our CSR program is gaining momentum and spreading a great deal of energy within IFS. For example, in August we shared how IFS is contributing to global sustainability. Here, we showcased examples of how some of our enterprise software solutions are helping IFS customers enhance environmental friendliness and sustainable development across five core industries.
It makes us proud, as IFS employees, that CSR is given as much coverage as business factors such as revenue and market competition. These are important for business growth—but why does any of it matter unless employees can gain purpose from their work?
Software specialists can be eco-warriors, too
In Sri Lanka, Udeshika Jayasinghe orchestrated a charming new way for IFS to contribute to sustainability.
Inspired by the message of the sustainability selector, Udeshika found a useful way of handling office paper waste. All shredded paper was to be donated to the Thuru ‘Seedpod’ project, which manufactures totally degradable packaging for seeds.
Udeshika says that it is a very important cause for her, having some history volunteering for this initiative along with her sister and niece. To quote Udeshika “it will reduce polythene usage […] it is very portable, and people can easily grow more trees”.
Employees are engaging!
IFS encourages staff to support their local communities. All employees are offered one day per year to partake in volunteering that is meaningful to them.
I enjoyed a day away from the office in late summer with three of my colleagues volunteering at a local Samaritans walk-in center. There, we labored with gardening (if aggressive weed pulling can be called that) and generally made the premises tidier and more welcoming for staff and clients.
Elsewhere within the organization, staff have chosen to give up their time to clear litter from coastal areas, collect and donate warm clothes to the homeless, and even lending a hand in responding to natural catastrophes.
One of IFS’s most wide-ranging CSR initiatives was aligned with the ‘IFS World Cycling Club’. This group brought together employees around the world with an interest in cycling in a virtual online club. The club members set themselves a goal to record their individual distances and cover 44,000km—equal to the circumference of Earth.
In June, when the goal was met, Stephen Keys, Regional President for IFS Asia, Pacific and Japan/Middle East and Africa donated 4,400 dollars to the IFS Foundation in recognition of this achievement.
IFS Foundation – tackling poverty at its core
Noble though our local volunteering initiatives may be, they’re often only providing short-term solutions to wider societal problems.
Recognizing this issue, IFS decided to kickstart a new kind of project—separate from ingenious tech—but which would channel the full power of our CSR commitment into one goal: to make one small corner of the world a better place and improve the living conditions and prospects of the people there. The IFS Foundation focuses initially on the village of Welusumanapura, with the goal of helping it become a healthier and more prosperous community.
The village, about three hours north of Colombo, is currently inhabited by hard-working families who have very limited access to water and sanitation.
Efforts are in progress to provide better education, security and access to sanitary facilities like taps with clean-running water. IFS intends to help strengthen this community so that it can be self-sustainable.
The rationale behind this project was to see if we could focus on one part of the world that had difficulty accessing that which we often take for granted. We wanted to not only assist with their struggles, but also establish a replicable model that could be applied to communities in the future.
By supporting the education of the villagers and providing them with easier access to clean water, we hope that Welusumanapura’s inhabitants will soon be able to enjoy improved health and better employment prospects.
To read more about ways in which IFS acts on its corporate social responsibility, visit our Global CSR Commitment webpage.
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Photo: GettyImages-1096104478-Caiaimage Trevor Adeiline