Wednesday 16 December 2020 5:43 am

Businesses can really make a difference — and this Christmas they’re needed more than ever

Susan Bright is UK managing partner and global managing partner for diversity & inclusion and responsible business at global law firm Hogan Lovells

The impact of the pandemic has brought unprecedented change to how we live and work. 

It has also led to a greater appreciation of the things we sometimes take for granted: family, food, health, employment. 

We have been put under strain in so many ways. In turn, people have risen to the challenge, demonstrating resilience, empathy and innovation as we’ve adapted to constantly changing circumstances.   

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And as individuals stepped up, so did businesses too. This year has emphasised above all the responsibility businesses have both to their employees and to their wider communities.

At Hogan Lovells, we have continued to support our people, our clients, and our communities, recognising that this has been a particularly tough year for some of the most vulnerable. And there is one initiative we are particularly proud of this Christmas.

Like so many other aspects of life in 2020, much of our community work has moved online. However, some challenges cannot be solved by a Zoom meeting.

So in November, when the start of the second lockdown meant reduced use of our in-house catering facilities for the foreseeable future, we began working in partnership with Bartlett Mitchell to provide practical and financial support to two London charities: the Felix Project and Food For All.

Making use of our kitchens and the skills of our catering team, we have funded and produced on-site soup for hundreds of people every day, and volunteered at distribution centres to help ensure valued food supplies reach vulnerable adults and children across London. 

Dedicating over 700 hours so far to soup production, we’ve been able to supply 12,750 portions, with colleagues working at the charities for over 1,600 additional hours. The Felix Project tells us that 400 hours equates to 30,000kg of food rescued and 75,000 meals delivered to people in London, supporting those most in need at this critical time.  

And this collaboration benefits us too: our people tell me how good it feels to be busy, feeling useful and making a difference to others where there is a real level of need. They take pride in actively delivering on our commitment to being a responsible business.

While most of us will be glad to say goodbye to what has been a truly tough year, there are some positives I want to take forward: namely compassion and community. This year has highlighted more than ever the important societal role business plays. Protecting the wellbeing of one another must be a priority — and our initiative shows the potential when businesses reach out to support their wider communities.

So for those businesses and leaders in the fortunate position to be able to do so, I urge you this Christmas to be creative in considering how you can make a difference. It is our responsibility to think beyond our own business to the positive impact we can make on society. 

This does not end with Christmas — but wouldn’t the season of giving, with a new year on the horizon, be the perfect time to start?

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Main image credit: Getty

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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