Harper Macleod, one of Scotland’s leading law firms, enjoyed one of its proudest evenings as it collected the Corporate Social Responsibility Award at the glittering Scottish Business Awards in Edinburgh’s EICC.
Harper Macleod Chairman Professor Lorne Crerar and Chief Executive Martin Darroch collect the Corporate Social Responsibility Award in Edinburgh
The event - the biggest business gathering ever held in the country – had attracted headlines even before it began by enticing Oscar-winning actor, director and humanitarian George Clooney as its keynote speaker and featured appearances from Sir Chris Hoy and Chris Evans.
On an evening which has social responsibility at its heart – and which was expected to raise more than £1million for charities including the Social Bite Fund and human rights organisation Not On Our Watch – the firm was honoured to pick up the Award which recognised its long-term commitment to social responsibility through its HM Community programme.
Chairman and founder Professor Lorne Crerar and Chief Executive Martin Darroch joined host Rob Brydon on stage to collect the prize on behalf of the firm.
Professor Crerar said: “We are overwhelmed to have been given this award. We have always tried to recognise the importance of our role in the community, both business and otherwise, and encourage all our people to do likewise. So we are honoured to have that recognised by the Scottish business world at such a tremendous celebration of everything’s that good about Scottish business – and which in itself would win any CSR award hands down.
“Corporate social responsibility is a concept that has been around for some time now, but it is increasingly important. This award is a testament to the culture we have built at Harper Macleod since we were no more than a start-up legal business, and with the help of our friends and clients we’ll endeavour to redouble our efforts in the years ahead.”
Before a sell-out audience of 2100 of Scotland’s leading business figures, Harper Macleod was chosen ahead of some illustrious competition on a shortlist including Asda, Scottish Power, Tesco Bank, Itison, CR Smith, CalMac and fellow law firm Burness Paull to claim the prize, which was sponsored by Johnson and Johnson.
Martin Darroch added: “Our CSR programme, HM Community, has been an important part of our development over the past 10 years and is fundamental to our strategy of achieving sustainable growth. It’s all about acting responsibly, ethically and with integrity - whether that’s in our interactions with colleagues, the legal and business community, or society as a whole.
“We first won a CSR award back in 2006 at the Law Awards of Scotland and we are delighted that a decade later our commitment to doing the right thing is still being recognised.”
The award was recognition of the wide range of CSR work Harper Macleod carries out across the spectrum, including its:
- wide range of fundraising for charities
- Internal initiatives and commitment to promoting healthy working lives
- support for many of Scotland’s young entrepreneurs and start-up businesses;
- support of Scotland’s leading wheelchair racer Samantha Kinghorn
- work carried out as a sponsor and supporter of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games;
- pro bono legal advice to organisations including the National Autistic Society
- commitment to volunteering
- commitment to the Living Wage, Scottish Business Pledge and Investors in People
The Scottish Business Awards, which also raises a significant amount of money for a range of charities each year, is the brainchild of Josh Littlejohn, who also set up the Social Bite cafes, one of Scotland’s most successful and inspirational social enterprises.
George Clooney follows in illustrious company at the EICC with the Awards’ keynote speech in previous years having been delivered by Sir Bob Geldof, former US President Bill Clinton, Sir Richard Branson and Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammed Yunus.
Skyscanner claimed the Scottish Company of the Year title in recognition of it’s commitment to creating quality jobs and dedication to social responsibility, while other winners included JP Morgan, FanDuel, Cala Homes and GAP Group. Lord Smith of Kelvin was given a special award for Outstanding Contribution to Scottish business.
The Awards themselves were preceded by a Festival of Entrepreneurship in the afternoon which featured several organisations who share the firm’s vision for entrepreneurs and young innovators, including Entrepreneurial Spark, ScotEDGE and Sir Tom Hunter’s Hunter Foundation.