Tag Archives: CSR

Zizzi Restaurant lands Corporate IT Forum award for innovative CSR project

By David Bicknell

Zizzi Restaurant picked up the IT project of the year  accolade in The Corporate IT Forum’s 8th Real IT Awards held last night.

Zizzi’s ‘Pennies with Zizzi’ project involved working with The Pennies Foundation to create an electronic charity box that allows customers paying by card to donate spare change to charity.  The corporate, social and environmental responsbility project is already on track to deliver £100,000 of micro donations to The Prince’s Trust.

According to the judges, drawn from leading UK and international user organisations such as South West Water, DHL, GlaxoSmithKline and Laing O’Rourke, “Zizzi showed its determination to create a way of supporting casual donations in the new age of electronic payment; they paid close attention to communications to make sure all stakeholders – particularly customers – would embrace it. We were very impressed by the way this was driven by the IT department.”

The Real IT award winners covered a broad spectrum of corporate IT users including public and private sector organisations such as HM Revenue and Customs, Balfour Beatty, The Environment Agency and British Sugar, as well as high street retailers New Look and Pizza Express.

The winning entries across 13 categories ranged from the world’s first ever iPhone app for payment by smartphone, to a targeted flood warning service for emergency flood responders and a rapid deployment of IT project in the new Tripoli.

The awards featured new categories to recognise the breadth of innovation being provided by and the growing importance of corporate IT within business.  The additions included Innovation in Business, Innovation in Mobile, Security as an Enabler and Social Media.

A new skills-related category, Developing Talent in Business, was also introduced, reflecting The Corporate IT Forum’s desire to tackle the education, training and skills challenge.  In this new category HM Revenue and Customs was recognised for its ‘Capability Development Programme’, a programme of investment in employees designed to establish them as experts in their chosen field, with external accreditation of their professional skills.

Chairman of The Corporate IT Forum John Harris said, “What is particularly striking this year is that the innovation we are seeing is in areas where IT is giving something back, rather than where it is solely focused on delivering cost savings and doing more with less.  This year IT is all about listening to user and customer needs – within the business and externally – and coming up with innovative ways to make things faster, easier and more efficient for them.”

Throughout the coming months the winners and runners-up will present their projects through Forum workshops that are open to all user organisations. By collating learning and sharing their experiences, the Corporate IT Forum suggests, corporate IT departments will become more proactive and successful in delivering business advantage for their organisations.

The Winners of the Real IT Awards:

Overall winner – Project of the year 2012

Winner: Zizzi Restaurant – Pennies with Zizzi

Runner-up: GlaxoSmithKline – Diseases of the Developing World

Corporate, Social and Environmental Responsibility

Winner: Zizzi Restaurant – Pennies with Zizzi

Delivering Business Value and E-Commerce

Winner: Land Registry – Register Extract Service

Developing Talent in Business

Winner: HM Revenue and Customs – Capability Development Programme

Innovation in Business

Winner: Environment Agency – Targeted Flood Warnings

Innovation in Mobile

Winner: Pizza Express – Pizza Express App

Innovation in Technology

Winner: Environment Agency – Targeted Flood Warnings


Winners: GlaxoSmithKline – Diseases of the Developing World

And: The Co-operative Banking Group – The Big Card Programme

Rapid Response

Winner: Foreign & Commonwealth Office – Tripoli – Rapid Deployment of IT

Security as an Enabler

Winner: GlaxoSmithKline – Secure Enhance

Service Improvement

Winner: Balfour Beatty – Platform for Growth

Social Media

Winner: New Look – NL Daily

Working Smarter

Winner: British Sugar – Load Slots – Optiflex

A full list of winners and runners up is on the Corporate IT Forum website

Why corporate sustainability strategy is now part of the CFO’s role

By David Bicknell

The organisational politics around sustainability are an ongoing issue. So far the need for a  sustainability strategy has touched those responsible for corporate social responsibility (CSR),  marketing (because of the brand and reputation implications of Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) league tables) and IT and Facilities who are having to manage and measure energy usage.

Now, an Ernst & Young report recommends, it is the CFO’s turn to pick up the baton.  As this piece suggests, sustainability trends are shifting the role of the CFO in three key areas:

  • Investor relations:  “Shareholders are speaking much louder and much more stridently than they did just a few years ago.  During the 2011 proxy season, 40 percent of shareholder resolutions were related to ESG issues. And over a quarter of ESG-related resolutions gained a 30 percent “Yes” vote, which Ernst & Young describes as a critical threshold (other observers say anywhere from a 10 to 20 percent vote can motivate companies to rethink their policies).  Mutual fund companies are paying more attention to sustainability related issues, and the rating companies (which have received, ahem, a fair bit of scrutiny lately) are directing more focus towards ESG matters as well.  All this leads to a shift in the duties of companies’ investors relations staffs; and CFOs, according to Ernst & Young, will lend more than a few hands with the demands placed on IR departments.
  • External reporting:  More than 3000 multinationals issue sustainability (or CSR or ESG) reports, and many of these companies now provide more than static or trite glossy PDFs.  Companies including UPS, Timberland, and Microsoft are raising the bar in offering frankness while encouraging increased stakeholder engagement.  To that end, more companies are having their sustainability reporting audited by third parties (such as the Carbon Disclosure Project for carbon emissions performance).  And that experience with third party performance falls into the CFO’s lap because they know how to balance the challenges and opportunities that arise from third-party verification.
  • Operational controllership and financial risk management:  Early last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued guidelines to companies on how to disclose risks possibly related to climate change.  Carbon data, and more frequently, water data, is becoming financial data because of these resources increasing price.  What was once tangential to the costs of running businesses has and will be central to the financial risks that come when running a company.  Whether evaluating the costs of large capital projects or ascertaining the reliability of sustainability data, CFOs and the departments they head will be careful when ensuring that all this data is accurate.”

Admittedly, currently this is probably a more US-focused development. But then it’s probably only a matter of time before CFOs here have to start considering the sustainability implications of their job, if they are not doing so already.

Here are five immediate actions CFOs can take to enhance corporate value through sustainability:

• Actively pursue a sustainability and reporting program.
• Ensure that those responsible for sustainability matters do not operate in isolation from the rest of the enterprise — especially the finance function.
• Enhance dialogue with shareholders and improve disclosure in key areas, particularly those related to social and environmental issues.
• Ensure that directors’ skills are relevant to the chief areas of stakeholder concern, including risk management tied to social and environmental matters.
• Consider using nontraditional performance metrics, including those related to environmental/sustainability issues.

Ernst & Young report: How Sustainability has Expanded the CFO’s Role