CMS: on why CSR sits at the heart of the firm

In this month’s CSR profile, we speak to Louise Starling, Corporate Responsibility Executive for CMS. Louise tells us why she enjoys working in CSR and the firms commitment to ‘Building Better Futures’.

Please provide a short outline of your current role and a brief description of any other relevant career experience
I joined CMS as Corporate Responsibility (CR) Executive in May 2019 having worked in the third sector for ten years – predominantly youth and education focused charities: Academy Ambassadors and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. In my current role I focus on our education and social mobility work, charitable giving, sustainability and local needs engagement. CMS has a diverse CR programme and I love the variety every day brings. Outside of work, I am involved in the City of London as a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Educators and Upper Warden of the Guild of Young Freemen..

Why is CSR important to your organisation?
Commitment to Corporate Responsibility (CR) sits at the heart of the firm. Our vision at CMS is to create sustainable and rewarding futures for our clients, our people and our communities which we call Building Better Futures. Our focus is on creating ‘win, win, win’ partnerships where our community, our people and our clients benefit.

We design and deliver a wide ranging CR programme across the CMS offices to actively manage the firm’s social and environmental impact. This ensures there is something for everyone to get involved in whether they want an ad-hoc activity or longer term commitment. Every person at CMS has 50 hours each year they can spend on CMS CR and pro bono activities and they can also spend 8 hours on personal volunteering.

Which topics, themes or initiatives are your organisation currently focused on?
To ensure we make the most impact we focus on five areas: charitable giving, investing in local communities, education and social mobility, pro bono work and managing the impact we have on the environment. Underpinning our approach to CR is our commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They are fundamental to building a better future for all and we are committed to helping make them a reality.

We have worked with ELBA in a variety of ways – most recently for environment focused team volunteering days at Stepney City Farm and with Core Landscapes. Every year our London office takes part in the Toy Appeal and we have also work closely with London Works.

What is the best part of your job?
I love the variety of the role – it’s a mix of communications, events, relationship management, volunteer coordination and fundraising. I also enjoy seeing the impact that the Firm has – I’m constantly impressed by how philanthropically minded our people are – whether giving time, money or expertise. Lawyers sometimes have a bad reputation but the ones at CMS really are amazing!

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