Financial year ending 31 July 2019.
Our approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR) reflects the steps that we are taking to ensure we are, and remain, a good corporate citizen. Social responsibility encompasses everything we do that has an impact on society around us – it is our values and behaviour as an organisation.
Our role in supporting education and research makes a valuable contribution to the continuing development of a learning society. As an organisation that champions digital solutions for our members, such as cloud-based services, videoconferencing and online research and learning resources and services, we also support our members to deliver against their environmental priorities. However, the focus of this statement and our activities is on Jisc as an organisation.
Each year we provide a statement which describes our efforts to reduce our impact on the environment, our approach to diversity, equality and inclusion, our shared values as an organisation and how we support our staff both as employees and as citizens seeking to make a difference through fundraising and volunteer work. We also commit to what we will deliver for the coming year.
We are committed to ensuring that Jisc is a responsible corporate citizen. To do this, we must:
- Minimise the environmental impact of our corporate activities
- Identify and address issues of equality, diversity and inclusion amongst our current and future workforce
- Ensure that employees are supported in their mental and physical health and treated with dignity, respect and in accordance with basic human rights
- Enhance our fundraising and volunteering activities for third party good causes
- Understand our suppliers’ commitments to CSR issues and practices and ethical approaches to business in our investment strategy
In 2018-19 we demonstrated our commitment:
- To the environment – by beginning a carbon offsetting initiative with a tree planting partner and ensuring our new Bristol office design includes environmentally friendly concepts
- To the equality and diversity of our employees – by celebrating diversity through a series of staff-led #thisisme blogs and videos
- To the wellbeing of our employees – by launching a network of mental health first aiders
- To supporting staff in volunteering – by giving employees a day each year to volunteer for a good causes
- To ensuring our suppliers show commitment to CSR issues – by joining a monitoring organisation to audit the supply chain of technology components and protect the rights of workers
More detail about our activities in 2018-19 can be found in the section on how we are delivering against our responsibilities.
Our plans for 2019-20
In 2019-20 we will take the following actions:
Strategy and awareness raising
- Create a CSR strategy, owned by the board and supported by our executive leadership team
- Raise awareness and inspire staff to think about CSR issues in our regular all staff updates and ask staff to think about the changes they can make to help us achieve our ambitions
- Prepare an Environmental policy for the group, along with an audit of our environmental impact
- Increase the CO2 offsetting to include energy use
- Investigate renewable energy suppliers
Equality, diversity and inclusion
- Increase our focus on how we address race and disability gaps
- Build on the on-line training resources on unconscious bias by completing interactive group events to shift mindsets, raise awareness and manage unconscious bias
- Continue our plan to address our gender pay gap by promoting the technology sector and attracting women into Jisc, as well as supporting their retention and progression
Values, behaviours and supporting staff
- Undertake a colleague engagement survey and share the results and recommended actions
- Implement lessons learned during the merger with Eduserv to any future mergers
Fundraising and volunteering
- Consider a formal volunteering policy for the organisation, recording the details so we understand the impact
- Consider an employee fundraising policy and the possibility of a nominated charity for corporate fundraising
In this section we describe the actions we have taken across a number of areas in 2018-19.
A working group of staff committed to ensuring that CSR issues are considered across the organisation continues to focus on particular aspects of CSR activity (for example, environment, charity fundraising) and drive forward our plans in these areas.
In response to a recent internal audit, the development of a CSR strategy will be high priority for a new CSR steering group, with representation from core parts of the business.
We have a number of active Yammer groups, where like-minded staff can come together and share news, ideas and feedback on a variety of CSR issues. Yammer groups include those focused around the environment, equality diversity and inclusion, health safety and wellbeing and organisational culture.
Every business has an impact on the environment in some form and we are committed to identifying ways to reduce our impact. For example, our use of technology means that travel is reduced as colleagues can participate in meetings and events virtually.
Our provision of technology means that our members equally benefit from virtual access to meetings and resources which helps them achieve their own environmental targets.
We comply with all applicable environmental legislation and regulations and we’re taking proactive steps to incorporate and improve environmentally friendly processes in our organisation, so we actively and purposefully exceed regulatory requirements.
Some of the ongoing steps we are taking include:
- Promoting an active recycling programme, (including outdated computer and electronic equipment, paper and cardboard, plastics and tins, food waste and crisp packets)
- Encouraging electronic distribution of software and documentation to members, clients and colleagues, eliminating the need for media production, binding and printing, with any necessary printing using recycled paper and double-sided by default
- Supporting a number of energy saving and conservation strategies (including movement sensitive lighting, power settings on computers, printers and reception screens to minimise power usage)
- Supporting the reduction of our carbon footprint by providing various technologies to support staff with virtual meetings to avoid travel, encouraging flexible working for staff and offering a cycle to work scheme
In 2018-19 we also:
- Completed the data analysis of our travel carbon footprint to begin an offsetting initiative with a tree planting partner
- Informed the design of the new Bristol office design to ensure that environmentally friendly concepts are factored in, including:
- Solar panels
- Improved cycling facilities
- Lots of whiteboards/spaces to write to minimise use of flipcharts/magic paper
- Efficient lighting, including motion-sensors and getting as much natural light into the building as possible
- Using recycled furniture from the existing Bristol office where possible
- Recycling existing office furniture/assets rather than sending them to landfill
- Water-saving flushes in toilets and low-flow shower heads
- Energy efficient appliances
- Use of improved thermal insulation
- Worked with suppliers to ensure products such as tea, coffee, cleaning products etc. are as low-impact as possible
- Held a reusable bottle-swap recently to encourage people to share reusable bottles which they were no longer using, to stop them going to landfill and encourage those who didn’t yet have one to start using one
- Organised a waste-free lunch day in our offices
- Launched an environment intranet page
- Introduced bee-friendly plants on the terrace of our London office
- Gave staff eco-friendly lifestyle tips
- Set up crisp packet recycling in each office so that all crisp packets are sent off to Terracycle for recycling rather than going to landfill
Equality, diversity and inclusion
We believe that equality, diversity and inclusion are three vital ingredients for a thriving, vibrant edtech company. We want to make the most of our collective talents and make sure that we value and celebrate diversity; creating an environment where we make the most of our different backgrounds, perspectives and talents.
Our HR system allows the central recording of diversity data which enables us to track change and monitor the diversity of our workforce, benchmark with other organisations across all sectors and identify actions to address areas of concern. The data supports the development of our plans in more detail and ensures our efforts are focussed and proportionate.
In 2018-19 we:
- Published our latest gender-pay gap report and implemented a number of steps to address the gap
- Provided on line training resources for unconscious bias on our learning platform
- Established our equality, diversity and inclusion network in which all staff can participate
- Continued as a member of the TechTalent Charter, a commitment by organisations to a set of undertakings that aim to deliver greater gender diversity in the tech workforce of the UK, to better reflect the make-up of the population
- Launched our apprenticeship programme, recruiting 12 apprentices, with more to come in 2019-20
- Participated in 'bring your daughter to work day'
- Continued our partnership with STEM ambassadors to inspire a diverse pool of young people and females into STEM subjects and careers
- Celebrated a range of events aimed at raising awareness and celebrating diversity, including International Women’s day, June Pride month, Black History month, Dyslexia Awareness Month, Ada Lovelace Day and International Men’s Day.
- Supported our staff in creating a series of videos and blogs called #thisisme in which our people bring to life diversity and inclusion issues at work by sharing their experiences, widening our perspectives and celebrating difference
Values, behaviours and supporting staff
We want Jisc to be a great place to work - a place where people make a difference to our members, and where they feel valued and supported. We have a set of values that demonstrate the attitude and approach everyone should use at work which gives us a clear way to celebrate the behaviour which helps us achieve great things.
We regularly check-in with staff to understand how they are feeling, through organisational “temperature checks” and a full staff survey. This has been particularly important through the January 2019 merger with Eduserv to help us understand how colleagues were feeling about the merger process. We’ve learned some lessons here which we will apply to any future mergers.
Alongside the values framework, we have a range of policies, to ensure that our staff understand what is expected of them, and what support they may expect from Jisc in return. These policies ensure that staff are treated fairly and with respect and that Jisc acts ethically and with integrity. These policies include sickness at work, dignity at work, equality and diversity, flexible working, health, safety and wellbeing and parental leave.
We are committed to the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff and we have an active Health and Safety committee and policy. We offer confidential life management and personal support services to all colleagues and their immediate families.
In 2018-19 we:
- Launched a network of mental health first aiders, trained and accredited by Mental Health England
- Launched Thrive, a mental health support app
- Continued our iMatter strategy with five priority areas - stress management, work-life balance, one organisation (social togetherness), healthy people, and our working environment
- Launched a change and resilience community on our learning platform
- Launched our employee voice forum which brings together representatives of all our directorates to discuss issues of relevance to colleagues and feed in to the executive leadership team
- Celebrated colleagues who demonstrate our values through our employee recognition programme
- Launched our technical career pathways to allow colleagues to climb a career ladder without moving into management
- Launched Ideas Con, enabling staff to get involved in exploring and developing products, services and better ways of working
- Ran internal TEDx-inspired Jisc events, an opportunity for colleagues to come together and hear inspirational talks on a huge range of topics, helping to build the culture that we are striving for
Volunteering and fundraising
We support the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) ambassadors programme which is a volunteer programme in which people who work in STEM careers, or have an interest in STEM subjects, use their knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to help young people progress further in those areas. We’re also supporting edtech start-ups and are encouraging staff to use their skills to mentor start-ups and help them become successful.
Staff are permitted to take one extra day away from work each year to focus on volunteering or fundraising activities of their choice. We’ll be working to ensure that the activities undertaken by staff are captured in future so we can better understand the impact that our staff are having.
We have an active group of staff who organise and host various fundraising activities on an informal basis, including charity cake sakes, community gardening efforts and Christmas shoe box appeals for disadvantaged children. These are always well supported and bring colleagues together in a united effort to support others in need.
A dedicated group of staff are developing a fundraising policy with the intention of coordinating efforts across the organisation.
In 2018-19 we:
- Supported staff in volunteering opportunities, for example, preparing coding lesson plans for primary school pupils in support of our focus on STEM
- Researched funding platforms to identify the one most suitable for Jisc
- Started identifying potential charity events of interest to Jisc staff
- Reviewed Jisc start up career volunteering platform VOLO and passed recommendations on to Jisc learning and development colleagues
Investment policy and strategy
View our corporate social responsibiity statement for financial year ending 31 July 2018 (via Internet Archive Wayback Machine).