CSR – Corporate social responsibility
BAHR’s corporate social responsibility
We have found that CSR is most effective when it is relevant to the firm; meaningful to our employees; consistent with BAHR’s core values and those of our clients; and when it is focused enough to make a real contribution to our local community, but far-reaching enough to extend beyond our immediate environment. We therefore focus our CSR strategy on specific educational, social, environmental and financial contributions.
BAHR act on a pro bono basis, generally on behalf of non-profit organisations, but also for businesses and individuals. We seek out appropriate projects where we, and our contacts, can use our core expertise to help promote and develop socially responsible businesses or protect people’s rights.
BAHR is equally aware of the importance of maintaining financial contributions to charitable organisations and fundraising campaigns. We take a keen interest in the activities of a number of not-for-profits and regularly contribute funds where we feel we can make a positive difference.
BAHR is one of the sponsors of Young Ambassadors, a programme designed to support and inspire talented high school students and provide them with high-level insight into economics, culture and society. BAHR works in conjunction with the US Embassy, First House, Google, McKinsey and Den norske Opera & Ballett to organise lectures, mentors (as part of a mentor programme), venues and pro-bono advice in regard to legal issues such as the establishment and operation of the foundation.
As one of the sponsors of #ViTarAnsvar (we take responsibility) we contribute financially to extra education in mathematics at some of the inner city schools in Oslo.#ViTarAnsvar aims to reduce social exclusion among young people, as well as to improve social inclusion and integration in Norway. Many young people drop out because they are struggling in school. Mathematics is often the Achilles heel, which may trigger a downward spiral. The #ViTarAnsvar initiative provides mathematics homework tuition and teaching resources for schools with inadequate STEM resources. The objective is to improve pupil performance, to enable pupils to gain admittance to upper secondary education and thereafter go on to complete apprenticeships or higher education. Thus far, close to 3,000 pupils have participated in #ViTarAnsvar. This has made quite a difference to their school performance. #ViTarAnsvar has covered eight schools, and a significant increase in average grades has been registered in six of these, with the strongest performing school clocking up a 1.6 average grade improvement. This demonstrates that making resources available in this way does make a difference
We are also helping to promote academic development by giving lectures at universities, organising seminars for students and providing funding for a research assistant.
We provide pro bono legal advice to Partnership for Change («PfC»). PfC is a Norwegian based, internationally oriented non-profit organisation working for a more just, secure and sustainable global society. PfC supports local entrepreneurs and businesses who are actively working for social development. PfC undertakes an active role in its projects and contributes to partner networks, financing and with strategic and administrative expertise. Examples of their development projects are primary schools, vocational schools, and entrepreneurship courses for women including community centres providing training programs in IT, English, health, preservation of natural resources and cultural heritage. In Norway, PfC is behind various events within social innovation, philanthropy and impact investing, aiming to generate commitment and action.
We also provide pro bono legal advice to the Business for Peace Foundation («BfP»). This foundation is well-known for its annual award during Oslo Freedom Forum which is presented to leading business people for its personal investment and lead-by-example attitude to promote ethical values and behaviour by being «business worthy» and not only «creditworthy». BfP is also working to promote research in the field of ethically responsible business and its possible correlation to peace and stability.
BAHR provides pro bono assistance to Stiftelsen VI (The Foundation VI). VI aims to provide people with disabilities equal opportunities for a full life, and contribute to more people with disabilities experiencing higher quality of life, improved health, increased belief in coping with life and more social contact.
605,000 people have disabilities in Norway. Where 75 per cent of young people in the general population say they are generally satisfied with life and think what they do is meaningful, only 40 per cent of young people with disabilities answer the same. VI wants to do something about this – through mastery in sports. VI believes that mastery in one arena also creates opportunities for mastery in several arenas in life. Studies show that better mental and physical health creates increased employment, education and community participation. That is why facilitation in sports is so important. The VI Foundation wants to engage more people with disabilities to participate in sports. This provides the opportunity for a lifelong investment in better health, well-being and living conditions.
BAHR does, like virtually all businesses, have a carbon footprint. There is no avoiding that. However, we are conscious of the burden imposed on nature and the environment by BAHR, and we can compensate for those emissions we have not been able to eliminate yet. We have recently embarked on an exciting collaboration with the fairly new Norwegian enterprise Trefadder, which provides «climate compensation» in the form of planting Norwegian forests. Trefadder is responsible for managing the forests to maximise the CO2 sequestration and storage capacity of the trees. The concept is comparable to UN carbon credits, which involves financial support for specific projects that capture or reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Such compensation schemes must be based on the premise that the projects would not have come to fruition without said financial support. BAHR is through Trefadder contributing to the planting of trees in areas where the landowner would otherwise have no financial incentive to plant forests. Such areas would thus normally become overgrown with a flora without the same CO2 sequestration capacity as a managed forest. An external analysis of BAHR’s carbon footprint will be conducted in this context, as a supplement to our internal review. This will form the basis for a reliable estimate as to how many CO2 equivalents need to be compensated. CO2 storage in forests requires a long-term perspective. A commitment to follow-up and transparency is needed on the part of Trefadder, the landowner, as well as BAHR. Our collaboration will therefore include pro bono legal advice from BAHR to Trefadder, as a contribution to the development of a sustainable enterprise built on solid foundations. We look forward to being part of this innovative Norwegian initiative!