Social Impact Case Studies

 

Case Study: Alexion 

The social impact Alexion has in Ireland is directly linked to its larger mission as a company to develop and deliver life-transforming therapies for patients with devastating and rare diseases. 
 
Alexion supports the hallmark initiative Rare Disease Day – an international day dedicated to raising awareness of rare diseases and their life-limiting impact. The campaign brings together diverse interest groups: patients, medical professionals and community leaders. Alexion’s 3,000 employees around the globe join together to support Rare Disease Day, from its company HQ in New Haven, USA, to Shanghai in China, to right here in Ireland. For this year’s Rare Disease Day on 29 February 2016, Alexion was the lead sponsor of the event in Ireland, organised by the Genetic and Rare Disease Organisation, held at Dublin Castle. 
 
The Ronald McDonald House at Our Lady’s Children’s hospital in Crumlin is also a charity partner for Alexion. Teams from the Blanchardstown site cooked for families with children in the hospital in March 2016, a welcome respite from the stress of coping with a seriously ill child. Alexion makes financial contributions from employee sponsored events to Liam’s Lodge, a charity that is building Ireland’s first national respite centre for children with rare diseases and genetic disorders. 
 
In a small country like Ireland, it can be especially isolating to have a rare disease – you might be one of just a handful of people affected, or your child might be the only one. It is hugely beneficial to be linked in a community of solidarity and with other people in a similar situation. Most recently, Alexion hosted a volunteer day on 23 September 2016 for all 230 employees at both its Blanchardstown and Athlone sites, harnessing the collective efforts of employees to make an immediate and significant impact. For this volunteer day, Alexion employees in Blanchardstown worked with the Daughters of Charity St. Joseph’s Centre in Clonsilla to transform the garden space and provide a wonderful outdoor area for the residents of the facility. Athlone employees volunteered with St. Hilda’s care centre to create a quiet space for staff, service users and their families. 
 
GrĂ¡inne McAleese, General Manager of Alexion Ireland, believes that there is room for the company’s social impact to grow in Ireland: “We are committed to Ireland as a significant location for Alexion and want to create a legacy in Ireland by championing causes that impact our local communities, and especially families affected by rare or devastating diseases.”
 

Case Study: Symantec

Symantec Corporation is the global leader in cyber security. Operating one of the world’s largest cyber intelligence networks, they see more threats, and protect more customers from the next generation of attacks. Symantec helps companies, governments and individuals secure their most important data wherever it lives.
 
At Symantec, corporate responsibility (CR) and positive societal impact are core to their business strategy. Integrity is a cornerstone of their mission and values, and helps define their winning culture. Through their global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, invest in STEM and cyber security education, and build and sustain a diverse and inclusive workplace, they remain committed to making the world a better and safer place. 
 
The company’s Dublin-based office has a robust CR operation, epitomised by its hallmark Symantec Service Time (SST) initiative. Encouraging employees to use five work days to volunteer, SST enables employees to work with many NGOs, charities and community organisations. Examples include Camara, focused on responsible computer recycling; CoderDojo, an organization teaching youth to code; OWLS, a children’s nature charity; and local schools, where employees mentor students. 
The Dublin site has a four-aspect engagement strategy: the environment; diversity and inclusion; science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education; and online safety. 
 
In their Online Safety in the Community programme, Symantec’s business expertise truly fuses with its CR strategy. 
With this programme, Symantec identified an opportunity to use its deep domain expertise to fill a much-needed gap in education: how to protect yourself and your loved ones online. Symantec employees were trained to present age-appropriate cyber security lessons to children and teenagers. They tailored their presentation to specific school needs, including cyber bullying, privacy, online predators, hate speech and social media account protection. Symantec also addresses parents and teachers, the first-line of defense in combating the vast range of threats that assail children on the Internet every day. Employees have actively embraced this initiative, taking online safety training and awareness into their children’s schools and into organisations like the Irish Scouts. Cutting-edge cyber security training is thereby made available to students, parents, and teachers who may have only a hazy awareness of the rapidly evolving digital space. Employees involved with Symantec’s Online Safety in the Community programme act as educators on an issue of crucial significance to Irish children and parents, but they also provide role models for students. Symantec’s CR programme skillfully combines its specific sector expertise with its charitable strategy, exemplified by the success of Online Safety in the Community. 
 
Symantec’s employee volunteers are able to apply for volunteer grants on behalf of the organisations with which they’re working. These grants, equivalent to $15 USD per volunteer hour, encourage employees to volunteer and provide even more assistance and support to the charitable organizations employees care about.


Case Study: Northern Trust 

For Northern Trust, corporate social responsibility offers a prism through which to view the entirety of their global operations. The company adopts a holistic, big picture approach to CSR, based upon its seamless integration into its business practices. This asset and fund administration company has pivoted away sharply from traditional philanthropic efforts, instead seeking to insert a commitment to social consciousness into every aspect of its business. Northern Trust believes that a company can generate both social value and economic value – the two are not mutually exclusive. Moreover, by embedding social responsibility throughout every facet of the company, Northern Trust can recruit, motivate and retain its talent base of over one thousand employees split between Limerick and Dublin. 

The commitment to sustainability in the Limerick site sheds light on Northern Trust’s social impact worldview. In improving the environmental standards of its operations in Limerick, Northern Trust exemplifies its integrated approach to social responsibility: optimising sustainability raises the bottom line, but it is also ethical. In planning the Limerick site, energy efficient transport, including public transportation and cycling to work, was a key factor in determining location. Northern Trust conducted a transportation audit of employee transport efficiency, implementing a car-sharing drive as a result. Northern Trust is also a party to the Carbon Disclosure Project: the company publishes its Greenhouse Gas emissions in line 
with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol of the World Resources Institute. 

Partners Think Green (PTG) is another innovative practice for Northern Trust in the social impact realm. Centred on the three R’s - reduce, reuse, recycle - PTG teams of employees serve as Think Green Champions that continually seek opportunities to improve employees environmental impact and consciousness inside and outside the office.
 
Northern Trust offers an Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) Index Fund for those clients wishing to make socially responsible investments. Dating back over quarter of a century, this investment fund – based in Ireland – synchronises with the company’s all-encompassing view of social impact. Its investments emphasise companies that value human rights, sustainability, and social consciousness. At its heart, the ESG Index Fund encourages clients to align their investments with their values. Northern Trust also manages an Emerging Market ESG Index Fund that helps countries to grow responsibly. 
Northern Trust continues to measures success not only in the bottom line, but also in social impact: corporate social responsibility is a core value and way of thinking that permeates every facet of Northern Trust’s business.