The case studies below focus on a small selection of the CSR initiatives that we have put into proactive and help illustrate our commitment to responsible business and to making a difference in the communities we serve.

Read our case studies

Charity - Marie Curie

Dignity raised £59,000 during 2015 for its corporate charity, Marie Curie and has raised £274,000 since January 2012.

This extremely worthwhile organisation provides high quality nursing, totally free, to give people with terminal illnesses the choice of dying at home or in a specialist charity hospice supported by their families. Marie Curie cares for approximately 30,000 patients every year across the whole of the UK. There are nine Marie Curie hospices located in Belfast, Bradford, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hampstead London, Liverpool, Penarth and Solihull. Each Dignity branch and crematoria has been linked with their local Marie Curie fundraising office so that the money that is raised will care for local patients in their community.

Fundraising initiatives have included charity car washes and taking part in sponsored walks, sky dives and fun runs.Dignity also raised money for Marie Curie by taking part in national campaigns such as The Great Daffodil Appeal, where branches sold the charity’s lapel badges and The Blooming Great Tea Party where visitors could purchase hot drinks, snacks and home made cakes for a charitable donation.

“Our partnership with Dignity helps us to make a big difference to the lives of the people we care for. Their efforts help to raise awareness and generate funding for the vital work of our Marie Curie nurses.”

Meaghan Annear,

Senior Account Manager

Marie Curie

Charity - Children's Hospices UK

In 2010 Dignity employees elected Children’s Hospices UK as their corporate charity for the following two years. With over 1,000 members of staff taking part in the vote this demonstrates the genuine enthusiasm Dignity employees have for fundraising and making a real difference to the lives of the people in their local community.

Children’s Hospices UK is the national charity that gives a voice and support to all children’s hospice services. Their vision is for every child and young person who is not expected to reach adulthood to have access to the highest standards of children’s hospice care and support close to home. Hospices provide care for approximately 20,000 children each year and support 41 children’s hospices across the UK.

Charity - Help the Hospices

Staff elected Help the Hospices as Dignity’s corporate charity for 2009 and raised £25,000 for hospices across the country, with branches working alongside local hospice staff to raise much-needed funds in support of their community.

In order to reach this target employees organised and took part in fund raising initiatives across the country, including memorial services, tea parties, picnics and barbecues, while some brave employees raised money by abseiling, white water rafting and bungee jumping.

Environment

In 2013, Dignity undertook an energy reduction project at its Business Centre in Walthamstow, London. These premises were traditionally one of the highest consumers of electricity in Dignity's property portfolio.

As part of this project environmentally friendly LED lighting was installed in addition to passive sensors that turn lights off automatically if it cannot detect that staff are present in that part of the building. The refrigeration system in the mortuary was also updated during 2013 and a control mechanism fitted to the heater in the garage area automatically turns off the heating when the garage doors are opened.

These initiatives have seen a 50 per cent reduction of the premises electricity usage compared with 2012.

Environment - Carbon Reporting

Carbon Reporting

Dignity aims to reduce its future carbon footprint and in 2014 Dignity continued to submit its data to the Carbon Disclosure Project This is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve the environment by measuring disclosures from thousands of organisations across the world’s major economies.

Submission to Carbon Disclosure Project

Greenhouse gas emissions

 20142013201220112010
Total 21,826 22,228 22,958 22,590 23,736
Per FTE Employee 8.5 9.0 10.0 10.2 10.9
Scope 1 14,437 15,077 15,097 15,202 16,798
Scope 2 7,389 7,151 7,861 7,388 6,938

All figures are metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

The Greenhouse Gas emissions have been shown as per full time equivalent employment ratio. The rationale for the choice of ratio is that it is the very best measure available to Dignity given the diversity of the property portfolio, the three separate divisions of the business and the absence of a similar business to benchmark against.

Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions information is derived from accurate consumption information on utility bills, smart meter readings and fuel card data. These are then multiplied by the appropriate emission factor from Defra/DECC and accepted methods of calculation have been used to derive the emissions information.

Dignity does not collect or report Scope 3 emissions at present principally because of the difficulty of collating accurate information and the deemed value of that information.

Health and Safety - Training

The combined weight of a deceased and a coffin has frequently been reported in regional and national media as a significant issue at the time of a funeral as it occasionally presents unfortunate challenges with regard to where the funeral can take place e.g. maximum capacity permitted at a particular crematorium.

From a funeral directing perspective, knowledge of such aspects allows Dignity to advise clients appropriately on the options available at their time of need. In addition, it allows us to allocate the necessary resources to each funeral in terms of equipment and employees.

The manual handling regulations stipulate that knowledge of the weight to be lifted is intrinsic to the risk assessment process. Dignity are in the process of installing electronic weighing machines with a view to assisting our high levels of service to clients combined with ensuring compliance with our welfare obligations to employees.

Community Engagement

Enabling higher education opportunities

In September 2014, Dignity began providing financial support to three mature students enabling them to study full-time at the University of Birmingham under the Access to Birmingham Scheme (A2B).

The scheme has to date helped more than 1,000 people in the West Midlands. The financial support of corporate partners such as Dignity enables the university to assist talented, hard working people from families or communities with little experience of higher education to realise their potential through study. The students are given an insight into studying at a university, provided with support through pre-induction with advice from lecturers and reduced entry grade offers if they pass the A2b module work.

The University of Birmingham’s alumni includes Dignity’s Chief Executive, Mike McCollum and Corporate Services Director, Richard Portman.

 

What giving means

“I am currently a mature student with a two year old son and my husband is also a student. Your generosity allows my family to live a little more comfortably and eases some financial strain. I couldn't be more thrilled to be studying at the University of Birmingham.”

Charlotte McAvoy
Sociology & Social Policy

“Your scholarship has enabled me to return to study as a mature student and continue to live in the home I share with my four year old son. Had I not received these funds it would have been near impossible for me to begin this exciting journey at the University of Birmingham.”

Helen Waite
Philosophy, Religion & Ethics

“I would like to express my gratitude for the support I have received from the A2B Scheme. Your generosity will be of great benefit in assisting with my travel expenditure.”

Mia Christensen
Sociology & Social Policy

 

Helping to make a difference

Dignity funeral home H J Dawson in Leamington Spa held a charity car wash in May in aid of All Saints Parish Church, a local church and heritage site.

Funeral Director, Debbie Leah and the other members of staff at the branch were joined by Father Christopher Wilson and the day greatly improved the relations between the church and its patrons. Members of the public were invited to have their car washed by the staff at H J Dawson between 10.00am and 4.00pm for the bargain price of £3 per vehicle.

Commenting on the day, Debbie said: “It was hard work, but worth it in the end! Father Wilson and I were washing the cars and Claire Tranter, one of our funeral service arrangers, was inviting people in for tea, coffee, cakes and biscuits whilst they waited. It was a great event as we raised a lot of money for a worthy cause and improved our relations with the local community.”

 

Supporting Marie Curie Cancer Care

Throughout the summer of 2014 Dignity funeral homes across the UK raised funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care by hosting Charity Tea Parties.

Staff at F Harrison & Son in Englefield Green raised £200 by making homemade cakes and taking them to the Village Green to sell. The Funeral Service Arrangers at Burton Upon Trent & District Funeral Service raised £342 and were joined for tea and cakes by the Mayor and Mayoress of East Staffordshire. Over £100 was raised at a Tea Party organised J H Kenyon in Hampstead and a cheque was presented directly to the local Marie Curie Hospice.

Marie Curie Senior Corporate Account Manager, Meaghan Annear, said: "We really appreciate the support from Dignity. Hosting a tea party is a fantastic way to support our nurses and it is thanks to events like these that encourage the local community to donate to Marie Curie that we can ensure more terminally ill people can receive care when they need it most."

Image of Marie Curie collection boxes

Charity - Marie Curie

Volunteers

Charity - Children's Hospices UK

An image of an LED lightbulb.

Environment

An image of staff training.

Health & Safety - Training