The term CSR was coined in the 1970s to denote the idea of a ‘social contract’ between businesses and society. The concept integrates social and environmental, as well as economic concerns in business practice, values, culture and decision-making. The idea of responsible business ethics has evolved much since then, with ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) issues taking precedence and moving away from the nice-to-have CSR.
At Talis, we embrace ESG best practices as our commitment to being a responsible investor. But we know there’s a place for corporate donations as part of our CSR strategy. It is a given that each year we donate 1% of our revenue. As a company, we get all our team to put forward their suggestions for our annual giving, before narrowing them down with a vote. Then, after going through a due diligence process, we present to the whole team and make a collective decision on who we would like to support.
Our chosen themes for 2021 were ones that resonate closely with the Talis team:
- Mitigating the mental health crisis
- Mitigating the climate crisis
- Supporting young people, their agency and education
Our charity partners for 2021
Place2Be: Supporting young peoples’ mental health at schools
Place2Be is the leading UK charity providing mental health support for children and young people. We all know there is an urgent need to support children’s mental health early on in life. The statistics are shocking – one in six children has a mental health problem such as anxiety or depression and 75% of those with lifetime mental health problems first experience symptoms by the age of 18, yet we spend just 6% of the mental health bill on children. Founded in 1994, Place2Be’s mission is to improve the mental wellbeing and prospects of children, their families and communities in the UK. We are proud to be supporting Place2Be and their work providing one-to-one and group counselling, particularly in the local borough of Merton, where we call home.
Trillion Trees: The role of nature-based solutions and protecting forests at scale
While not an all-encompassing solution to the climate crisis, nature-based solutions have an important role to play in sequestering carbon. One of the real challenges is restoring the forests that exist on this planet, in addition to working against deforestation through improving legislation.
Maintaining crucial forest corridors is an imperative due to the wildlife ecosystems that rely on forest conversation: also, not forgetting the communities who reside here. Trillion Trees is a partnership that brings together conversation charities Birdlife International, WWF and WCS to achieve forest restoration at scale.
At Talis, the climate crisis is central to our investment thesis. We invest in solutions scalable technologies that have the potential to sequester or mitigate considerable amounts of carbon, while remaining commercially viable.
Girls into Coding: Helping to address the gender imbalance in the tech/STEM industry
Girls Into Coding (GIC) is a social enterprise founded and led by 13-year-old Avye and her mother Helene. The free workshops let girls from anywhere in the world participate in the interactive workshops, and girls from India, Kenya, Canada, USA, France, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Nigeria, Suriname, Singapore & South Africa have participated. Avye and her mother helped to design and manufacture a range of robotics kits suitable for remote workshops, which they post to the girls alone with other hardware, so they have everything they need to participate.
Since GIC was established, it has worked with over 1,000 girls with many now excited to consider STEM education and careers. From 2021, they now aim to engage at least 1000 girls every year with hands-on coding, robotics, physical computing, and 3D printing /3D design events and inspiring talks to contribute towards addressing the gender gap in STEM.
They hope to create opportunities where girls and women particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds are engaged in STEM activities, education, and careers and where they are equally comfortable, with an equal sense of belonging and in equal numbers.They have had a range of incredible role models who have delivered inspirational talks at their virtual and face-to-face events.
Be Free Campaign: Breaking Down Mental Health Stigma
The Be Free Campaign is a mental health charity that aims to give people the tools they need to look after their mental health and wellbeing in order to live happier and more fulfilling lives. The charity was founded around the need for better mental health care, breaking down the stigma that exists which reduces access to support and health services, as well as working with schools, universities and community organisations to empower change and improve curriculum.
The Be Free team aims to improve people’s knowledge of self-help when it comes to dealing with mental health. We all have mental health; it is something that can change and sometimes further support might be needed. Not only does the Be Free team give people the tools to improve their mental health through workshops and ambassador programmes, they also work to increase access to mental health-related careers. The charity works with Edge Hill University to encourage people to work in mental health fields. Their students complete 120hr or 48hr placements with us where they can learn about mental health and wellbeing, work with schools and community organisations and learn about pursuing a career in mental health.
Their Musicians for Mental Health is a new initiative, with musicians joining the charity as ambassadors to help spread awareness and understanding of mental health and wellbeing within the music scene. Independent artists and musicians have not had the same support that employees have received from their workplaces in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The charity works with the musicians to offer them support and wellbeing sessions and supporting their musical work by offering them performing events at various venues.
Bite Back 2030: Campaigning against childhood obesity and augmenting the voices of young people
BiteBack’s mission is to halve childhood obesity by 2030, and to close the inequality gap. Right now the health of one in three children in the UK is at risk from overweight and obesity; ten times the number of 50 years ago. The world young people are growing up in is flooded with fast food, and healthy options are being pushed into the background.
We were drawn to Bite Back 2030 as a youth-led movement working to change that by redesigning the system to put child health first. Bite Back 2030 was launched with a National Youth Board, a team of 15 passionate teenage activists aged 15-18 from across the UK who are campaigning for more opportunities to be healthy. The organisation finds, recruits and trains exceptional youth leaders, and supports them to lead mission-aligned campaigns of national significance, bringing them together with the decision-makers across government, the food industry and schools to find new solutions to this crisis. We were impressed with their creative, youth-led campaigns, which included the Free School Meals campaign.
The Charity said:
“Covid-19 has brutally exposed the inequalities and laid bare the injustices that exist in our food system. It has also sharpened our focus on the impact of obesity on health outcomes, and the impact of financial insecurity on diet and nutrition standards. Covid-19 has pushed nearly 500,000 more children into food poverty.”.
The charity has identified four major impact goals for 2023 which align with the Government priorities as outlined in the July 2020 Obesity Plan and our own insights into what matters to young people:
- To ensure healthy, nutritious school food for every child all-year round;
- To make healthier food more affordable than unhealthy food through subsidies, discounts, and taxes (e.g. sugar tax);
- To achieve consistent and honest front of pack labelling and promotion;
- To end junk food advertising online, on high streets and sports sponsorship.