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Responsible Business

Our communities

We want to be an organisation that contributes significant value by having a provable impact on the issues that affect our global and local communities.

Our approach harnesses the unique skills and experiences of our people as well as the expertise of partner organisations. Our community investment work tends toward programmes where we can make a real difference to people’s lives and build a long-term relationship and we aim to focus the majority of our Community Investment efforts on two key global principles:

  1. Access to justice and legal services.
  2. Education and employability.

In 2016 we reviewed our Community Investment Strategy and our new approach was signed off at the Partners' Conference in October 2016. In 2020, we reviewed our strategy again. Our strategy covers three main areas.

  1. Industry specific partnerships and initiatives: an opportunity for each industry group to use their knowledge, expertise and passion to address social issues relevant to their sector. Currently four of our industry groups have charity partners:
    1. Shipping - Mission to Seafarers
    2. Construction and Energy & Resources - Renewable World
    3. Aerospace – The Air League
  2. Office initiatives: an opportunity for each HFW office to identify and support issues impacting their local community. Below are examples of some of our office initiatives:
    1. Our Singapore office currently partners with Metta Welfare Association and supports Pryme (Potential Realised in Youth through Mentoring and Education).
    2. Our Hong Kong office partners with the Nesbitt Centre and Sailability.
    3. Our London office partners with Toynbee Hall, three secondary schools via Career Ready and two primary schools.
    4. Our Australian offices support Mission Australia and Zonta House Refuge Association
    5. Our Middle East offices support the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children.
  3. Ad-hoc donations: colleagues and clients can apply for up to £250 in matched giving per year for a charity of their choice. We also provide funding in response to disasters and small donations to charities approaching us who align with our community investment global principles.

HFW provides support in a number of ways:

  1. Pro-bono e.g. advising individuals or charitable organisations that require legal expertise. Pro bono support can be legal or non-legal.
    1. Our HR, Business Development & Marketing and Learning and Development teams have all provided non-legal pro bono support to our firmwide charity partner Fight for Peace.
    2. Our London and Australian offices have provided pro bono advice to our global charity partner, Renewable World.
    3. Our London, Dubai and Australian offices have provided pro bono advice to our global charity partner, Mission to Seafarers.
    4. Our London office provide pro bono advice to a variety of small charities via Law Works.
    5. Our Hong Kong office is a member of the Duty Lawyer Scheme, providing free legal advice on a roster basis, to HK residents and eligible defendants appearing in all magistrates courts, juvenile courts and coroners courts.
    6. Our London office supports a weekly legal advice clinic at Toynbee Hall providing employment advice to those in need.
    7. Our Singapore office is an anchor firm for the Singapore Law Society Pro Bono Services, providing pro bono advice to individuals at a monthly clinic in districts across Singapore.
    8. The HFW Piracy Team has undertaken very significant pro bono work releasing "forgotten" seafarer hostages held in Somalia.
  2. Skilled volunteering e.g. reading schemes in primary schools, careers talks and employability workshops, work experience supervision, mentoring and school governorships.
  3. Financial donations.
  4. Gifts in kind e.g. donations of furniture or IT equipment.
  5. Employee fundraising and payroll giving.
  6. Charity partnerships combining a number of the points above.

Case study 1: Renewable World Keep Kids in School programme

HFW supports the Keep Kids in School programme in Nepal which launched on 1st January 2021. Keep Kids in School will improve access to secondary education for 3,312 vulnerable children through the provision of accessible, dignified WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) facilities in all ten schools in Gulmi Durbar Rural Municipality between January 2021 and June 2023.

Keep Kids in School is Renewable World's first entirely WASH focused project, and is also the first project they have launched that will be school-centred rather than community-centred. This project additionally represents a new strategic approach, through which Renewable World are targeting every single secondary school in an entire Rural Municipality, and will support every school to access the tailored WASH solutions that each particular school needs – with activities varying between each school. This includes the installation of solar water pumping systems in schools sitting above their water source, the construction or rehabilitation of existing non-functional hygiene and sanitation infrastructure and, once the situation allows, a student led hygiene awareness campaign.

Renewable World's aim is to level the playing field for secondary school children across the entire Rural Municipality, in terms of quality WASH access at school. Whatever the starting point of their school, their aim is for all schools to achieve the same level of water access, and the same quality of WASH facilities, including accessible toilets, drinking water facilities etc. Renewable World also propose to pilot a new technology researching – a solar powered water filter which we plan to pilot in at least two schools.

Case study 2: Mission To Seafarers

Here at The Mission To Seafarers, we are always interested in partnership opportunities. In 2017, we started a three-year partnership with HFW.

This partnership has been extremely valuable to MtS in the provision of pro-bono legal advice covering a global governance review which has enabled MtS to update many of its outdated processes. With HFW’s assistance, we now have a clearer understanding of our governance arrangements and are forming a governance strategy based on this insight.

HFW also carried out a thorough review of our insurances and have made changes to our insurance cover. In addition, we have received invaluable advice on GDPR and a referral to a property lawyer – both of which have benefitted us enormously as an organisation.

Find out more about our partnership with The Mission to Seafarers here.

We are working with clients across our international network to help them minimise the impact of COVID-19 on their business and to prepare for what's next. To find out more, visit our dedicated Covid-19 hub.

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