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Why Social Value is at the heart of our business

It can be difficult to pin down exactly what is meant by social value, but it puts the impact that a decision will have on current and future generations at the epicentre of that decision-making process. It evaluates the significance of choices based on their potential social, economic, and environmental effects on key stakeholders.

ODS strives to grow a business that is good for everyone. Our social value and sustainability approach is built upon four key pillars: our workforce, our community, our environment; and, our supply chain. These pillars guide our approach and decision-making and they help us to measurably work towards being the business we aim to be.

We are a business that creates a more inclusive and sustainable economy in Oxford. We balance purpose and profit; we consider the impact of our decisions on our employees, customers, suppliers, and communities. We are also continually finding new and innovative ways to support the city’s Zero Carbon Action Plan and the environment we live in. These are our guiding principles, and this ethos is at the centre of our values and actions. We call it ‘doing good’. 

Each year, ODS strengthens and delivers more and more value for local communities. We have signed the Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership Charter as a statement of our commitment to creating a more inclusive local economy, and of our shared ambitions with other organisations across the county. We’re always hungry to find new and better ways of ‘doing good’ in a sustainable and cost-efficient way, and we embrace opportunities to collaborate with local partners who share our values. This includes supporting the local economy by buying goods and services from purposeful local organisations whenever possible. Similarly, we add value to the community through our supply chain such as recently when we helped Barracks Lane Community Garden save vital charity funds through our partnership with Huws Gray.

ODS was recently shortlisted for two social impact awards in recognition of our commitment to supporting the local community, environment, and economy. Our partnership with Oxford City Council and the youth support charity TRAX, which gives new life to abandoned bikes, was shortlisted in the Circular Economy Achievement category of the prestigious LARAC 2023 Awards. Supporting the circular economy is woven into the fabric of our work, and it's an honour to receive recognition for our efforts.

Another key element of our approach is investing in our current and future workforce. ODS is proudly accredited by Inclusive Employers and recently earned the esteemed status of a Disability Confident Employer, joining the ranks of only eight organisations in Oxfordshire. The majority of our workforce live in Oxford and we pay the Oxford Living Wage. We also run a number of initiatives and wellbeing projects to support our workforce to develop and grow in the business. Most recently we launched the ODS Volunteering Bank which enables staff to access a shared bank of paid hours so they can volunteer for charities that are important to them.

At ODS, our highly successful apprenticeship program is a testament to our commitment to fostering talent. Recently, we welcomed three new apprentices and a former serviceman from the Royal Logistics Corps through our partnership with the Armed Forces Resettlement Partnership. Our apprentices often share their experiences with students during career talks, and we actively offer work experience placements to local secondary school pupils.

To cap off our month on a high note, we received delightful news that one of our apprentices, Darren Allen, was shortlisted for Apprentice of The Year in the JACKfm Brick Awards - an event celebrating Oxfordshire's finest in the building trade. Darren exemplifies the ODS ethos of 'doing good'.  With our high standards, and ambitious apprentices like Darren, the social value we bring to our local community appears increasingly promising.