CSR in practice: How IMC is helping to change people's lives.
IMC Financial Markets and Asset Management is a market-making firm, which is active on over 100 exchanges around the world. We caught up with Greg Nairn, a senior software engineer in IMC’s Sydney office, who also oversees corporate social responsibility for the company’s Asia Pacific region.
Nairn joined IMC 10 years ago, but has been involved in the company’s CSR for the last seven. IMC operates a charitable foundation where each of its global offices has a representative. In the Sydney office, it is Nairn. It’s a role the self-confessed “volunteer-o-holic” is strongly committed to and works very hard at.
“Giving back always been a big thing for IMC,” says Nairn.
“About 17 years ago they made the decision to really establish something in Amsterdam [where IMC’s global head office is located], which is a program called The IMC Weekendschool. It operates on Sundays and gives kids with disadvantaged backgrounds exposure to different career paths they would not have come into contact with.”
A few years back the IMC foundation introduced a formal strategy around its CSR efforts. It addressed and aimed to unify what each of the offices should try and achieve through its giving programs. The new strategy sees about 75% of grant money go to talent development for underprivileged children and youth education or related causes (some of which also call for staff to volunteer personal time for hands-on involvement), and the remaining 25% being distributed to a community portfolio; essentially causes with a local focus, including those suggested by staff.
Nairn explains that much of the money distributed by the foundation is to charities and organisations that IMC have built long-term relationships with. Their current CSR projects are wide-ranging, including participation in initiatives like Movember; a range of fundraising events such as dinners and workshops, charity races and rides for charities like Make-a-Wish and Oz Harvest; education and mentoring work with Sky High; and long term support of Old Guildford Public School – including projects like the establishment of a kitchen garden (built by IMC staff volunteers during weekend working bees alongside students, their families and staff) and swimming lessons (arranged by Nairn through Royal Life Saving Society Australia).
IMC’s charitable foundation strategy is currently being fine-tuned with the aim to have better insight as to what it and isn’t working. A move that should help refine, not overhaul, the strategy.
“Benojo is being used as an organising and reporting tool,” says Nairn, helping him to manage the heavy administration that comes from overseeing CSR and attempting to capture the results and report them back to head office. He adds that Benojo also aids with “admin efficiencies, lowering overheads and saving time”, while the matching component of the system, will help IMC grow new and suitable relationships for the foundation.
Most importantly there's a desire across the business to improve transparency and increase the involvement of staff members. Benojo makes it possible for IMC employees to see all the involvement the business has within the community and participate in any campaigns that they feel personally aligned to.
Nairn says while the CSR element of the job – which he has taken on as a volunteer role – can be incredibly time consuming he thoroughly enjoys it.
“I have seen our programs change people’s lives and having been a big part of that, it would very hard for me to walk away”
Talk to Benojo to see how we can help your business with its CSR.