When Covid-19 hit, many of our local communities were hit too. Our staff and suppliers have worked together to raise funds, deliver meals to NHS staff and provide valuable resources for communities and vaccine research projects.
We don’t just want to do the best for our clients; we want to make a difference in society too. That’s why we supported over 150 charitable organisations last year and have double offset our carbon emissions since 2018.
Our approach to supporting communities aligns with how we approach investment. We like to partner with organisations over the long term and gain a deeper understanding of their work and goals. When we consider supporting a charity or voluntary organisation, we assess their potential in a purely philanthropic way, looking to make long-term contributions that help them deliver sustainable services that make a lasting difference.
Importantly, we don’t tell organisations what to do or set any conditions on our support. We recognise and trust in their expertise to deliver the best results for the people they support. As we advance, we take a more proactive approach to our choices, and we seek to support those who are less well funded.
Our Sponsorship Committee, made up of partners and staff from across Baillie Gifford, takes an active interest in all our sponsorship efforts, ensuring they’re always fair, effective and diverse. Here are examples of how all our staff can get involved:
Charity of the Year
Staff are at the heart of the Charity of the Year – everyone has the opportunity to nominate a charity. We spend the year fundraising for our chosen charity and raising awareness of the great work they do.
Our employees can nominate a charity, community group or charitable organisation working with a school for £1000. These awards run three times each year, and since launching in 2017, staff have donated over £600,000 to good causes! To decide on recipients, we ask our staff to write a short submission nominating an organisation of their choice. Our Sponsorship Committee reviews their suggestions and grants are awarded to approximately 40 charities in each round.
We connect our staff to opportunities where their skills and knowledge could bring real benefits. Whether that’s our HR team providing careers coaching and mentoring through our Charity of the Year, or our Finance teams passing on their accounting knowledge to social enterprises.
BG: We give back to local communities because we believe it is the right thing to do, not because it might make us look good.
Me: I want to be part of an organisation that has a social conscience I can be proud of.
At Baillie Gifford, we’re always conscious of our impact on the environment, so we created an Operations Environment Group, which looks at the environmental aspects of the way Baillie Gifford conducts its day-to-day business.
The group works to introduce targets and influence policies that will reduce the firm’s carbon footprint. Some recent projects include the introduction of the Pawprint app so employees can choose to monitor their individual carbon footprint and an Electric Vehicle Salary Sacrifice scheme which aims to provide a tax-efficient method for leasing a new electric vehicle. They have also consulted with the Construction Manager of our new office building to ensure that environmental concerns are part of the layout and fit-out of the new premises. In addition, they have implemented the company-wide decision to double offset our carbon footprint.
Our internal teams calculate the firm’s annual carbon footprint, which is independently verified by approved external agencies. Once confirmed, our Operations Environment Group works with a small number of organisations to identify projects for offsetting.
Over the last few years, we’ve chosen to support initiatives that both protect and create natural environments. Some examples are "The Gola Rainforest Project" - a unique initiative in one of West Africa's last remaining hot spots. In addition, we support reforestation projects at Loch Ewe and Glennochy Estate in Scotland, replanting species such as Scots pine, willow, oak and hazel trees. We also support a reforestation project on the Isle of Skye that creates safe habitats for endangered species, such as sea eagles. The range of projects will expand in the coming years as we look to bring in projects relating to agriculture as well as Direct Air Carbon Capture.