The spirit of giving more

Corporate Social Responsibility lies at the core of Edrington’s company’s history. Owned by a charitable trust, the ethos of ‘Giving More’ is shared by all employees who are encouraged and supported in making a real difference in their communities by championing a cause they feel truly passionate about. In this article Martin discusses the impact of this principle on company culture and the charities they support.

Published 22nd March 2017

 

By Martin Reimann, Regional Managing Director Asia Pacific, Edrington

 

 

Today many companies practice some form of corporate social responsibility (CSR) – each doing so in their own way. It is a growing area of focus for businesses, hence the pertinence of the British Chamber’s Sustainability and Responsibility Committee. The Committee brings together a variety of stakeholders to discuss CSR issues and exchange practices. It offers a forum to share approaches to CSR and looks at how companies go about making a difference. It is in the interest of learning from each other that I was asked to share Edrington’s experience.

 

I arrived in Asia 14 years ago to set up Edrington’s operations in the region, spending the first 10 years in Shanghai before moving to Hong Kong and then Singapore. As the business grew from 3 to over 300 people spread across 7 countries, many things changed, but our involvement in the community remained a constant. This was a bottom-up rather than top-down process, with new colleagues bringing new ideas, enthusiasm and personal projects to life as we expanded.

 

It was possible for them to do so because our business has always had social responsibility at its core. Edrington’s ownership model is unique in that it is owned by the Robertson Trust, which is Scotland’s leading independent funder of charitable causes. As we grown internationally, this charitable ethos has driven us to continue contributing to the wellbeing of the communities in which we operate.

 

We term this ‘Giving More’ and it is not only a company philosophy, but constitutes a seamless part of what we are about. In our different markets, colleagues identify causes and actions they feel passionate about and Edrington empowers them to make a difference. Over the years, the breadth of activities covered has been truly impressive, going from environmental, to educational and broader social causes. Last year, among a range of activities, colleagues in Singapore spent time with senior citizens with dementia at the New Horizon Centre in Bukit Batok, while others in the region volunteered to support the homeless (Hong Kong), elderly members of the community (Taiwan) or families struggling to get by (Korea). These initiatives were conceived and led by committees made up of local colleagues, allowing them to take real ownership and responsibility for their communities. 

 

Over the years, I have also been eager to promote cooperation among our different country offices, to inspire a real sense of belonging to, not only our internal corporate community, but a regional and even global one.

 

In 2016 our key employee-led mass fundraising event was the charity cycle for the Kaohsiung Autism Foundation (KAF). This activity saw sixty five riders from Edrington offices across Asia complete a 500km bike ride from Taipei to Kaohsiung in Taiwan, to raise money for KAF. On this journey, we were joined by members of the local Taiwanese Cycling Federation, trade partners and many friends.

 

It was truly inspirational to see individuals from different countries and cultural backgrounds rally around this local charity that is devoted to providing support, professional advice and educational services to those affected by autism. The sense of accomplishment from completing the ride for such a great cause was fantastic, as was the vigour, determination and personal dedication that went into the months of training, planning and preparation that preceded it.

 

Thanks to the ‘Giving More Together’ initiative, the charitable fundraising of our employees – and that of many generous sponsors – was amplified by the company, meaning that, in total, we handed over a cheque for $5 million NTD or $225,000 SGD to the Kaohsiung Autism Foundation.

 

Ultimately, we see participation and Giving More as key ingredients of a healthy lifestyle and staying true to our history. A healthy lifestyle is as much about getting involved and contributing to the health and wellbeing of our communities as it is about personal wellbeing. Giving More also has clear benefits for our business by helping us to attract and motivate great people in a competitive market for talent. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Martin Reimann joined Edrington in December 2002 and has overseen operations in the Asia-Pacific region since. Now based in Singapore, Martin has oversight of Edrington’s wholly-owned operations in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan as well as its partnerships in Japan, India, South East Asia, Australia & New Zealand. After completing his education in Edinburgh, Scotland,  Martin spent 4 years with the elite Royal Marine Commandos, followed by another 4 years as a Police Officer with the Surrey Constabulary in the UK. He then enjoyed a varied career with Bulmers plc, the world’s largest producer of cider. Among other roles, he was appointed as General Manager of Bulmers South Africa Pty Ltd, the company’s first joint venture outside of the UK. Martin is married to Ling and is the proud father of Maximilian and Oliver. Edrington owns some of the leading Scotch whisky and rum brands in the world, including The Macallan, Brugal rum, The Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark and Highland Park. The company’s principal shareholder is The Robertson Trust, which donated over £18.2 million to a variety of charitable causes last year. For more information visit https://edrington.com/.

 

 
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