North East's responsible companies praised

Supporters of Responsible Business Week raise over half a million pounds and donate 11,000 volunteer hours

Staff from Gentoo, which supports Responsible Business Week, donned overalls for a Good Deed Day
Staff from Gentoo, which supports Responsible Business Week, donned overalls for a Good Deed Day

The volunteering and fundraising efforts of some of the best known businesses in the region have come under the spotlight as Responsible Business Week (March 31 to April 4) gets underway.

Figures from the likes of Accenture, Esh Group, Gentoo Group, PD Ports and Sage show companies supporting the initiative have raised over £510,000 for local worthy causes and offered 11,000 hours in staff volunteering.

National companies with large bases in the North East have also made a significant contribution, with Greggs, for example, donating £1,650,000 nationally to good causes and 566 staff members donating one day of volunteering each.

At Northumbrian Water, meanwhile, 1651 employees volunteered their time and the company donated 1% of pre-tax profits to 681 organisations. Eversheds, which has a base in Newcastle, likewise donated £517,440 through its charitable trust and gave over 3,000 volunteer hours across the UK.

Responsible Business Week is designed to inspire and equip businesses to do more to meet the world’s most pressing challenges.

It is organised by business-led charity Business in the Community, which last year saw more than 1,500 people taking part.

Liz Needleman, area director for England East said: “Responsible Business Week is an annual opportunity for businesses of all sizes to demonstrate their positive impact on society, share new ideas and do more to tackle environmental and societal challenges.

“As the compelling figures show, contributions from North East based businesses have made a real a difference in local communities.

“We hope that events throughout the region during the week will inspire more businesses to become involved in responsible business activity over the next 12 months.”

Caroline Gitsham, Gentoo’s executive director of culture and vision said: “At Gentoo, we pride ourselves on delivering solutions that enable society to be a better place to live.

“Responsible Business Week is a great opportunity for us to share our experiences and encourage others to make a difference to the way people live their life.”

To support the week, Gentoo will also be running a health and wellbeing session for its customers.

Other events in the North East include an employability workshop from the County Durham-based construction company Esh Group on April 3.

The firm will also be running an event on the subject of employing ex-offenders.

For more information, see www.bitc.org.uk/rbweek

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