Emerging issues and market trends

There is a growing shift in corporate community investment strategy.

Corporate organisations are realising that they need to invest more than just money if they want to leave a lasting social legacy in the communities they operate in. They also need to invest time, impart knowledge and implement programs that deliver tangible change.

Over the past decade there has been a significant reduction in companies giving one-off contributions. Traditional corporate giving, such as ad-hoc and one-off donations, is being replaced by long-lasting partnerships with communities and charitable organisations.

Downer has embraced this shift in thinking. We aim to invest our time and money into programs that drive education, increase employment opportunities and improve quality of living, with a specific focus on people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

We achieve this by creating partnerships that include monetary spend which is reinforced by the meaningful actions of our people. One of our greatest assets is our expertise – we’re market leaders across a broad range of sectors, and we take pride in sharing our skills and capabilities with our community partners.

Our Waanyi Downer Joint Venture (WDJV) is a ground-breaking partnership and perfect example of this strategic approach. Our involvement in the joint venture goes beyond the mining services we deliver for New Century Mine and includes running a range of community training programs for the local Waanyi people. These programs are resulting in paradigm shifts in the community – from helping ensure children attend school to creating jobs for people in regions that have experienced high levels of unemployment. Through initiatives like the WDJV and our partnership with Bama Services, we’re building capabilities and increasing employability in local communities.

Generational shift

The generational change happening in workplaces is also bringing change to corporate social responsibility strategies. Younger generations place far greater value on their employer’s social policies and corporate giving programs than any generation before them. This has resulted in companies increasingly implementing sponsored giving and volunteering programs, which provide community benefits and help build job satisfaction among employees.

Downer runs a range of programs that give staff the opportunity to give back. Our new Volunteering Leave program is one example. Another is the Volunteer Service Abroad program for some of our young professionals in New Zealand. Through Downer’s exclusive partnership with Volunteer Service Abroad, graduates and cadets from New Zealand spend three months in the Solomon Islands with the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development helping the government to achieve universal primary school enrolment and new classrooms.

Sustainable workforces

Another trend brought about by generational change is the growing challenge in attracting employees to regional residential roles and fly-in fly-out (FIFO) roles. Younger generations appear to be less interested in these lifestyles and the associated careers. We hold a number of events to engage youth at schools and educational institutions in an effort to develop interest and an employment pipeline. This includes hosting students on site for information sessions, tours and the opportunity to speak to our people about the benefits of a career at Downer.