First Calgary Financial has embarked on a new journey, one filled with promises and commitments not only to their stakeholders, but to each other as employees and concerned corporate citizens.
Historically, corporate social responsibly (CSR) initiatives have been led by a single department at First Calgary Financial - responsible for reporting, implementation and communication. In the past year, the Board and Executive team underwent a strategic planning process to create a new five year strategic plan as well as a document containing the organization’s CSR commitments. While they underwent this process, they identified countless overlaps and began to realize how CSR was inseparable from their strategic plan. As a result, the Executive Team crafted a strategic plan that embedded their CSR commitments into the core business functions and decision-making. Essentially, their strategic plan is their CSR document.
The strategic plan is based on three promises: social, environmental and economic. The three promises are together incorporated into First Calgary Financial’s decision-making framework. “CSR is not one department’s role; it’s how we do business,” states Dani DeBoice, Director of Corporate Citizenship. Now, the company’s economics are understood not only in financial terms, but also within social and environmental contexts.
Social Promise: We have a deep respect for those who are committed to bettering the lives of those around us. As a socially aware organization, we make thoughtful choices that consider how our members, employees and communities are affected. It's a promise about people. It's who we are.
Although the Board and Executives were visionary about drafting these promises, they questioned how they were going to measure success. Eventually, SiMPACT was approached to identify metrics that will inform a social return on investment (SROI) valuation of the social promise commitments.
By conducting an SROI, First Calgary Financial is aiming to clearly understand the value of their business services contributing to achieving these promises. For example, is a $5 million line of credit to the Calgary Homeless Foundation creating a return for society that goes beyond just the value of the donation of the interest accrued back to the non-profit? What opportunities exist to further develop the local social finance agenda? Over the next five years, key performance metrics will be established to capture and measure the results.
From an LBG Canada perspective, the social promise has elevated the role of community investment, clearly positioning investing in community as one key step on a spectrum of social impact. In addition, the LBG Canada approach enables First Calgary Financial to comfortably speak about the business and community value, using project and portfolio-specific data to demonstrate how their investments are a part of their larger social promise.
Overall, the strategic plan is an inspiring, forward thinking document. First Calgary Financial hopes to see a more engaged, knowledgeable employee base with a stronger understanding of how these promises tie into everyday business practices and a stronger Calgary community. “By stating these promises, employees are empowered. We are actively looking for ways to leverage our business practices to achieve these promises to the best of our ability,” adds DeBoice. “In five years, we will be able to articulate our social impact and return proudly.”
Download the First Calgary Financial 2011-2015 Strategic Plan Highlights for more information.