Beyond Profits: Driving Change Through the Power of Partnerships
The last two years have forced us to shift our way of life and how we interact with one another. We have had to face how our choices impact our community.
As we rebuild and reimagine our communities, Canadians expect corporations to prove that they are motivated by more than just profits. People expect companies to deliver on their promise to drive change in the communities where they operate. Corporations are expected to show up and do good.
For businesses to achieve their corporate social responsibility goals, they need to seek out like-minded partners and set achievable objectives. Working together, we can achieve so much more and create even more positive changes.
At first glance, it may not be obvious what Accenture, a global professional services company, and TELUS, a communications and information technology company, have in common. Yes, the two organisations work together on major projects in support of TELUS business strategies and operations. But what’s not as well-known is the cultural alignment the two organisations share. Both place their commitment to being a responsible business at the centre of all they do, embracing a strong social purpose and dedication to the communities in which they operate. And both organisations aim to positively change the world through the power of technology.
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The common social commitment and cultural fit between these two organisations are highly valued dimensions of their business relationship. It’s common to find Accenture and TELUS employees volunteering together in their local communities.
In 2018, TELUS established the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation to fund charities that offer health and education programs, many enabled by technology, that help youth across Canada reach their full potential. Working to achieve its ambitious goals required a strong ecosystem. And Accenture was excited to support the Foundation on the path to creating a brighter future for the next generation.
When we learned that TELUS was establishing the Friendly Future Foundation, we were very proud to have the opportunity to support as a Founding Partner with an annual financial commitment. We saw this as another opportunity to strengthen our impact on the communities we serve – by joining forces – while continuing to drive our corporate social responsibility initiatives forward.
Accenture takes improving the way the world works and lives to heart, and it is continually innovating to build a more economically inclusive future in which everyone can thrive. In 2021, Accenture contributed cash grants, technology support, or pro bono services to 156 registered charities across Canada. One major area of Accenture’s corporate citizenship focus is how the pace and scale of technological change is impacting the future of work, especially among vulnerable and marginalised populations.
Accenture’s global Skills to Succeed initiative reflects the company’s commitment to addressing—at scale—the global need for skills that open doors to employment and economic opportunity. Through this initiative, the company has equipped more than 5.8 million people worldwide with the technical, digital, and unique human skills, such as empathy, communication, and problem solving, to make substantive improvements to their lives. Last year alone, more than 300,000 people from marginalised communities across Canada were equipped with skills to secure meaningful employment or build a business.
Similarly, TELUS Friendly Future Foundation is focused on helping to build brighter futures for youth through the support of health and education programs, many enabled by innovative technology. The Foundation provides grants to Canadian registered charities in many local communities through the recommendations of 13 TELUS Community Boards. In addition, the Foundation provides Innovation Grants to charities addressing some of the most pressing problems facing youth. In 2022, charities with innovative ideas to support youth mental health or advance environmental education have been invited to apply for grants of up to $200,000 over two years. Each year, the Foundation provides more than $8 million dollars in grants which help more than 2 million young Canadians in need of critical support. One organisation the Foundation supports is Hackergal, which inspires girls across Canada to explore opportunities in coding. The Foundation’s grant is enabling Hackergal to increase its reach and create better pathways to bring coding education to girls in underserved and marginalised communities. This is just one of the more than 500 Canadian charities the Foundation assists each year.
“All stakeholders – citizens, industry, government – now expect collaboration and partnerships to tackle the complex issues facing our world. No single player can make systemic changes,” says Shanan Spencer-Brown, Executive Director at the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation. “The support Accenture has provided since the inception of the Foundation has been tremendous and is an excellent demonstration of how organisations can collaborate to further their commitment to creating a more inclusive, healthier, and prosperous world.”
No single corporation can create transformative advances on its own. By rallying together, we can create lasting positive changes. Together, Accenture and TELUS Friendly Future Foundation, along with other partners, are Canadian leaders helping to strengthen our communities and inspire others to get involved.
Andrew Marchant is the Location Managing Director of Accenture’s business in British Columbia and is a member of Accenture Canada’s executive committee. Andrew currently serves on the board of JA Canada, Canada’s largest youth business education organisation.