The 2016 Winners of the Global Corporate Volunteering Awards

Watch the full 2016 award ceremony above.

Bank of America
2016 Global Volunteer Program Award
2016 Inspiring Practice Award
2016 Inspiring Practice Award
Grupo Modelo
2016 Best Corporate Volunteering Program in Mexico
2016 Honorable Mention

The 2016 Global Volunteer Program Award

The Global Volunteer Program Award recognizes a global company that shows an exemplary overall approach to global corporate volunteering – with a well-thought-out strategy that fits their values, priorities and culture; an understanding and appreciation of global issues and local realities; and activities that address serious problems in a thoughtful way. The 2016 Global Volunteer Program Award was presented to Bank of America. Susan Portugal, Senior Vice President in the Environmental, Social and Governance group at Bank of America accepted the award on behalf of the company.

Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, employing 200,000+ people and operating in more than 35 countries. Volunteerism at the company is a strategic and comprehensive platform integrated with its business, philanthropic, and marketing initiatives. In addition to enriching local communities, the company views volunteerism as an opportunity for employees to advance leadership skills, team building, and other skills.

To ensure programs are sensitive to local needs and cultures, volunteer program priorities are set by the ESG executives in the various regions. Regular training is provided to the ESG leads with monthly calls to provide strategic direction, tools and resources, as well as best practices. Volunteer champions are also situated in each country outside the US. These champions plan, implement and execute activities in their respective areas for local employees, in addition to their “day jobs”.

Specific Bank of America volunteer programs include employees, retirees, friends and family, customers, as well as other banks.

Bank of America employees recorded approximately 2 million hours of volunteer time last year. 26 percent of employees participated in at least one of 15,000 events in 32 countries. In addition to these metrics, they look at the number of employees serving on NGO boards, and the number of NGOs touched by their work. They also examine the impact on the NGOs on a project-by-project basis, market and line of business level. They track what the NGOs were able to accomplish that they might not have without the assistance of Band of America employees – in terms of revenues earned, clients served, meals provided, etc.

Additionally, the company measures employee satisfaction specifically tied to volunteerism in their annual employee satisfaction survey. For example, 92% reported that they had good volunteer experiences. Employees also responded that they gained additional skills through skills based volunteering, and reported new or stronger relationships with colleagues in the company due to volunteering.

Bank of America is continuously working to improve their volunteer program. This year they launched a new toolkit specifically for skills based volunteering. They focused on employee volunteering with teams consisting of employees in different lines of business. They also revamped and simplified their employee volunteer portal and shared more stories using social media.

Examples of the bank’s volunteer program in action include:

  • As it expanded its 30-year partnership with Special Olympics, the company helped sponsor the first ever Unified Relay across America, a 46-day event during which more than 115 employee teams helped carry the torch to the Special Olympic World Games.
  • Last year, Global technology and operations employees in the Asia Pacific region launched a “Code for Change” program through which they developed technology solutions for NGOs, ranging from an app to help a food bank in Hong Kong collect food supplies, an educational game to promote better nutrition in Indonesia, and a monitoring system for children at risk of abuse in Thailand.
  • Aligned with its robust philanthropic support related to hunger relief, including a partnership with Feeding America and the Global Foodbanking Network, employees volunteer in local food banks, helping them deliver on their mission of serving those at risk of hunger.

The Inspiring Practice Award

The Inspiring Practice Award recognizes a global company that has created a high impact volunteer initiative designed to meet a specific community or societal need. This award is about tangible outcomes that resulted from a specific volunteer-based strategy to meet a particular need. The 2016 Inspiring Practice Award was presented to HSBC and to SAP.

The 2016 Inspiring Practice Award was presented to HSBC for its Water Programme. HSBC is major global bank with over 250,000 employees located in 71 different countries. The HSBC Water Programme and specifically the FreshWater Watch project carried out in association with their NGO partner Earthwatch, provides a unique combination of world-class science with immersive employee engagement and leadership development. HSBC employees contribute to Earthwatch’s freshwater research and education to help inform and transform water management through the creation of a robust global database populated with data on freshwater quality collected by HSBC employees. Lagtzú López, Corporate Sustainability Senior Manager, HSBC Mexico and Latin America, accepted the award on behalf of the HSBC Water Programme managed by Sue Alexander out of HSBC’s London office.

HSBC decided to invest in water because the resource is vital to building healthy communities and developing local and national economies. HSBC employees volunteer to take part in a one-day research program known as a Citizen Science Leader training day. They learn about the global water crisis and consider actions for their own personal and professional lives to reduce their environmental impact, as well as learning about HSBCs sustainability agenda and how to gather data from local water bodies on an on-going basis and on their own time.

To date 8,000 HSBC employees have recorded over 15,000 data sets equating to 98,000 hours of employee time. Their work has allowed scientists to better understand the impact of urbanization and agriculture on water quality across 36 cities worldwide. Data collected by HSBC volunteers on water quality is used to contribute to scientific research. Earthwatch scientists then disseminate their findings to policymakers whose role directly impact water quality. For example, in Guangzhou farmers were provided with information that led them to reduce the amount of nitrogen fertilizer they use while at the same time increasing crop yields.

The HSBC Water Programme enabled employees worldwide to have the same experience but to focus on and learn about local water issues. In some countries HSBC retirees and corporate clients participated in the program. Family, friends and community groups also got involved.

Employee volunteers from other companies were included in the Citizen Science Leader training days and that has led to other companies adopting the Water Programme as a company-wide volunteer program.

Besides contributing to their communities, and advancing scientific knowledge, HSBC volunteers benefit from personal and professional development as they enhance their critical thinking, systematic analysis, and evidence based decision-making.

The 2016 Inspiring Practice Award was also presented to SAP for its Social Sabbatical Portfolio. SAP is a global information technology leader with 78,000 employees in 130 countries. SAP decided to tackle the problems of high youth unemployment, the young working poor and the STEM skills gap—all elements that threaten their company, customers and society at large. As a result their Corporate Social Responsibility strategy focuses on education and social entrepreneurship to drive sustainable economic growth, innovation and job creation. The Social Sabbatical portfolio is designed to enable social impact through capacity building and leadership development and focuses on achieving triple impact – for participants, organizations and the company. The program is also designed so that cross-functional diverse teams solve critical business challenges for the social entrepreneurship and education sectors in emerging and developed markets while strengthening employee’s leadership competencies, cross industry sector know-how and intercultural sensitivity. Alexandra van der Ploeg, Global Program Director, SAP, accepted the award in Mexico City.

The SAP Social Sabbatical portfolio is comprised of four different programs: one each for global engagement, local engagement, regional engagement and executive engagement. To date the program has involved 400 SAP employees from 40 different countries supporting 125 nonprofits organizations and social enterprises in 26 different locations worldwide.

Under the umbrella of Impact 2030, SAP is engaging with GSK in its first joint volunteer team in Kigali, Rwanda – combining the SAP Social Sabbatical program with the GSK Pulse program, to benefit the client organization, Partners in Health.

SAP has developed an outcomes-based measurement framework to assess its Social Sabbatical program. They have implemented an immediate impact post-assignment survey and a long –term impact survey to measure progress 6-12 months after the close of the assignment. Employee participants and client organizations each complete the immediate and long term surveys which are designed to capture both qualitative and quantitative measures. Recent surveys have determined that client organizations have hired additional employees, increased revenues, increased customers, realized cost savings, improved organizational capacity and people development, improved quality of services delivered, and added new services or solutions as a result of the SAP Social Sabbaticals.

Best Corporate Volunteering Program in Mexico Award

A new award was presented this year to a company from the host country of the World Volunteer Conference. Grupo Modelo was the winner of the award for the Best Corporate Volunteering Program in Mexico. Grupo Modelo has done an outstanding job of not only mobilizing their employees to volunteer throughout Mexico, but it also engages friends and family of employees as well as the general public and other companies in a comprehensive volunteer program. In 2015 Grupo Modelo engaged 150,000 volunteers for 822,000 hours benefiting 900,000 people, partnering with 555 NGOs and engaging more than 120 companies.

Accepting the award on behalf of Grupo Modelo was Marcela Cristo Vaca, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, Grupo Modelo. In her acceptance remarks, Marcela said: Our dream at ABI and Grupo Modelo is to bring people together for a better world. We have been able to bring our employees, their families, the community, NGOs and companies together to donate their time to support the cause that is close to their hearts. I want to ask you to keep working and promoting volunteerism and that we work together to make this a better world.

As Helen Keller said: “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”