Agencies should focus on client work, you might say. Corporate social responsibility is for big companies. We don’t have a large carbon footprint, we tell ourselves. Our business is to serve our clients, you argue.
All this may be true, but the fallacy is in thinking that these should preclude us from playing our part as a company doing business in Hong Kong.
As counselors to our clients in CSR strategy, as PR representatives for NGOs and community programs, and as champions of Creating Shared Value, we could not truly claim to believe in the power of doing good without taking real action as a firm. It’s easy to talk the talk every day, but how many go beyond that to walk the talk?
On November 20, fourteen volunteers from FleishmanHillard joined the Hong Kong Cleanup Challenge 2015 by taking the Friday afternoon to clean up the trash left around and washed ashore at Waterfall Bay, a rocky beach in Pok Fu Lam.
Our team picked up a whopping 168 lbs of trash – 11 large bags and 2 stacks of Styrofoam, plastics, metals, glass, a giant fishing net and other litter – in an hour, leaving the area much cleaner and welcoming enough for a stork to fly in afterward.
For us, the cleanup served as an acute reminder of Hong Kong’s waste problem, its complexities and the local issues we could influence. Certainly, we also participated in support of our client, The Nature Conservancy, co-organizer of the annual Hong Kong Cleanup.
At the same time, the cleanup was an occasion for team-building and a company dinner, with prizes for Most Disgusting Trash Found and HK Green Trivia Champion – all good fun.
Earlier this year, FH HK also adopted greener office practices in the process of becoming certified in the World Green Organization’s Green Office Awards Labeling Scheme (GOALS) – a test of our own ability to change employee behavior, even as we advised clients on the same.
Also with the WGO team, in October, several FH volunteers joined a surplus food collection activity at a local wet market, helping to sort unsold vegetables, then delivering them to elderly citizens who live alone while paying them a much-needed visit. Such chances to connect with the community enable us to gain perspective beyond our daily work.
Just as a beach cleanup is meant to inspire awareness and change beyond one day, our small initiatives are about anchoring our beliefs with actions, understanding the local community and being authentic to our claims. We truly believe that doing good in the right way can benefit business, society and the environment – and this is rooted in our values, our leadership and our culture.
In short, why is community involvement worthwhile for us? Because actions speak louder than words, and good work starts with true passion.