on Jun 10, 21

A bank of Goodness

The Co-operative Bank has put almost $40,000 back into communities by giving staff the opportunity to donate to their favourite causes instead of giving them gift-wrapped pressies over the past 3+ years.

The Co-operative Bank was the first company to jump on board with gifting through The Good Registry when we launched in November 2017, and have given kindness instead of stuff at Christmas ever since.

Instead of unwrapping corporate gifts at Christmas, staff have received Good Gift Cards — vouchers that they can use to donate to any of The Good Registry’s 65 partner charities.

Every new starter is also now receiving a Good Gift Card in their welcome pack — so they get an immediate introduction to The Co-operative Bank’s focus to Do Right By People.

The team have also used Good Gift Cards to celebrate good things like best dressed teams on Pink Shirt Day, and to say thanks to some special stakeholders.

All up, they’ve replaced about 1250 gifts with donations to good causes through The Good Registry. That’s 1250 fewer things in the world, with all of the associated packaging, wrapping and environmental impacts (an estimated 19,000kg of carbon emissions nicely sidestepped).

And that’s almost $40,000 for good.

A powerful impact

Chief Executive David Cunningham says that money has had a powerful impact in the community, and for The Co-operative Bank team too.

“It makes us feel really good because we are a passionate bunch of people — we are passionate about doing good stuff and we feel good about supporting good causes.

“It’s an opportunity for people to do something that makes them feel good. It takes away from the hurly burly of Christmas and reminds us there is something special you can do for others, which often gets lost in the consumerism of Christmas.’

The bank’s People Experience Programme Lead Jasmine Wikstrom says giving their people the gift of giving is “an awesome demonstration of giving back to our local communities and Aotearoa”

“The personal touch of our people getting to choose where it goes is really cool,” Jasmine says. “It also strongly aligns to our promise to “do good with business”, which we have committed to by recently becoming a certified B Corporation. Our people love being a part of something more meaningful that can have a a positive impact.”

David says the bank’s philosophy of doing right by people has become deeply embedded, and that comes from all the little things they do adding up.

“Every business is different and will choose to do different things — for us it’s been giving the gift of giving, giving back in local communities in other ways through the year, and this year, it’s also been getting our B Corp certification. It all contributes to a greater sense of purpose for our people and that’s what people want these days.”

Making a difference

“Lot’s of little things make a big difference,” David says.

That’s so true: Lots of little gifts from The Co-operative bank have made a world of difference for The Good Registry’s 65 charity partners — as well as for The Co-operative Bank’s people and for the planet.

The Co-operative Bank’s people have chosen to donate to the full range of The Good Registry’s charity partners — with their favourites including the SPCA, Chained Dog Rehabilitation and Rehoming, KidsCan, Heart Kids and Cure Kids, Alzheimers NZ, Wellington Free Ambulance and the Mental Health Foundation. For all of our charities, it’s meant much needed support and funding.

“It is not changing the world alone but imagine if every corporate in New Zealand did the same,” David says. “If a million staff across New Zealand each receive $100 worth of gifts over the next three years, that’s $100 million that could make a huge difference in our communities. And that’s three opportunities for all those people to have the warm fuzzy experience of giving instead of getting.”

David says it’s important to talk about the power of giving back in business.

“I think the opportunities we have as leaders to tell stories about the power of giving are massively under-utilised, and I encourage any leader out there to do something like The Good Registry, to give back with their people to their community, and then talk about it, and use their position to create more goodness.”

David finishes up with The Co-operative Bank at the end of July. We’re sad to see him go — as we know many at the bank are too. But he’s off to do loads more good, cycling 3000km from Adelaide to Perth (with family in tow in a camper van!) and fundraising for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. (You can read more about that here)

Once you’ve got that giving bug, you’ll never shake it (and who would want to?!)

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