Our ambition is to have a positive impact on the communities in which we operate and with a focus on the students and their influence.
Our ambition is to have a positive impact on the communities in which we operate. We have strong relationships with a number of community partners including:
- Local charities – We offer our employees a charity match scheme in which up to £250 is paid to the individual’s charity of choice to match the amount they raise. In 2012 we contributed £8,578 (2011: £5,848) in matched donations to charities across the UK
- Schools – In Reading our team invited a neighbouring primary school to tour one of our properties to understand more about going to University and what it means to be a student.
- Local authorities – The team improved the relationship with the local council by asking their residents to ‘opt-in’ to a recycling scheme, encouraging 100% compliance from our residents
Many organisations proclaim CSR commitment but use it as a ruse to gain publicity. Still others fail to implement their planned social responsibility initiatives simply due to lack of dedication, long-term vision, drive or budgets.
There are companies that promote sustainability or corporate citizenship instead of CSR. They argue that the ‘social’ in CSR detracts from the business-related responsible activity by focusing on its social impacts (typically in the community area) while not giving due regard to the importance of ensuring the company’s operations being run ethically and responsibly.
At Sigma Student Properties, CSR is about creating and sustaining relationships between the organization and all its stakeholders – internal and external – with the ultimate intent being discernible and sustainable value creation as well as positive qualitative impact within relevant communal factions. Reputation capital enhancement is just a secondary byproduct, one that we’ll cherish but not pursue.
CSR to us is all about managing business processes on the internal front and enabling a focused value-channel creation toward the external front to produce an overall positive impact on society. We also believe in socially responsible investments (SRIs) which is the integration of personal values and societal concerns with investment decisions. Our SRIs also provide a critical link between our investment capital and the social and environmental performance we intend to achieve. This link is provided in a way that brings the activities and results achieved by us into line with the internal investment mandates.
The CSR model at Sigma Student Properties Developments hinges on a long-term vision to aid and advance the quality of primary education – and thereby to enhance intellectual capital value – within select GCC nations. Having largely achieved the once-distant goal of providing free access to primary and secondary education for all nationals, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—now face a bigger challenge: raising the quality of that education. To make further progress, they must shift their focus—above all, to improving the skills of teachers and managing the overall performance of their school systems. Internationally benchmarked curriculum standards and school performance standards need to be adopted separating the responsibilities for setting policy and monitoring outcomes from those of operating schools. While the education ministry would remain responsible for setting standards of learning for students, other institutions would measure achievement, in order to promote objectivity, transparency, and accountability. In this context, Sigma Student Properties Developments proposes to work with government entities on a public-private partnership basis as well as on a direct one-on-one with educational institutions to aid and support medium to long-term quality enhancement programs.
We are in the formative stage of the CSR/SRI program implementation process and are looking forward to the support of strategic partners and stakeholders to ensure success and sustainability. We truly hope this program will achieve and continue to uphold its simple but unequivocal purpose of enabling quality primary education among deprived children.