Partner Pledge: Good for the world, good for business 

Aisling Curtis

Aisling Curtis

Former Director of Strategy & Sustainability

Read Time, 4 min.

A topic very close to my heart is our Microsoft Partner Pledge . It is a statement of intent, which our partners commit to join us in using technology as a force for good. By signing they become an ambassador for digital skills and advocates for responsible and ethical AI. They commit to building a diverse and inclusive tech sector, and to being environmentally sustainable.  

We strongly believe that when we make progress on these four areas, it’s not just a great impact for society but it is also good for their business.  

While some partners commit to all four pillars of the Partner Pledge, individual firms naturally over-index in some areas. For Codec, they stand out for diversity and sustainability. 

Meet the partner 

Codec delivers transformative solutions to businesses across the full Microsoft stack. Set up in 1985, it now employs about 250 people across Ireland, Germany, Malta, Poland and the UK. 

“We have an accelerated value creation (AVC) model, which is a defined process that enables us to de-risk project delivery and decrease timelines,” explains Fiona Daly, chief financial officer at Codec.  

Understand the commitments 

 

Supporting women  

Fiona Daly had been volunteering with the Irish not-for-profit Ruhama, which supports women trafficked into Ireland via the sex trade. She suggested to Codec’s senior leadership team in 2020 that the company could support the organisation with its bridge to work scheme.  

Since then, it has run workshops and training courses, donated laptops and engaged in fundraising. It has also provided mentoring to women supported by Ruhama and taken on two as interns, with one now a full-time employee.  

Daly is quick to point out that Microsoft has sought to support this work wherever possible, investigating if it can also offer internships and connecting her with Microsoft colleagues in the US who can offer help and relevant resources. 

Codec is also working on achieving the Diversity Mark and seeking to build a diverse, gender-balanced workforce through proactive intervention in terms of recruitment, retention and mentoring to support women moving into more senior roles.  

“We’re at the point where over 30% of our workforce are women and we’re trying to get to parity by 2030, which aligns with the International Women’s Day goals,” says Daly, adding the company is also putting a menopause policy in place. 

Focusing on sustainability 

Codec has multiple initiatives relating to biodiversity and sustainability, including: 

  • going paperless 
  • supporting alternative transport modes for employees 
  • running coast cleaning events  
  • funding an OpenHive beehive 

Its core work in this area, however, is the development of Purus, its environmental compliance management solution for water utilities, which it hopes non-governmental organisations will benefit from. This work has been awarded GreenStar funding from Enterprise Ireland. 

Be inspired by the benefits 

  1. Bringing a business angle to CSR work 

“The Partner Pledge gave what we were already doing more of a corporate business angle,” says Fiona. “I’m quite passionate about this as is the senior leadership team, but when you’re in business and you have to account to shareholders, you need a corporate reason why you’re doing these things.” 

  1. Embracing the Microsoft ethos

“Microsoft showed us that this work is a huge goal for them,” explains Daly. “We want to align ourselves with Microsoft and by virtue of them sharing the partner pledge, it allowed us to push forward in earnest and solidify initiatives we had started.” 

  1. Leading an organisation with purpose 

“We’ve been doing a lot of work on our purpose and value in our culture, particularly for our new recruits. The research shows that anyone who believes in the purpose of the company will perform better and you’ll have lower attrition. Likewise, the more women you have in senior positions, the more profitable the company is going to be.” 

Discover more about the Partner Pledge 

The Partner Pledge initiative has been rolled out across 12 European countries since mid-2021. The Irish partner ecosystem has been especially keen to get involved, with about 50 of the 500 Western Europe partners already signed up being based in Ireland.  

Partners who sign the pledge also sign a memorandum of understanding, and each pillar has a Microsoft lead who works with partners to understand the pledge expectations and to collaborate on progressing initiatives. Partners have regular calls with Microsoft and formally update on their progress during quarterly business reviews. 

Microsoft helps each partner to understand what it wants to achieve and which initiatives will have most impact. It also supports with idea generation, thought leadership and setting strategic intent. 

Through the Partner Pledge, Microsoft aims to scale its own work to build a better world. Microsoft aims to be a carbon negative, water positive and zero waste company by 2030, for example, and the sustainability pillar of the partner pledge aims to scale and augment that work. Likewise, while Microsoft runs many digital skills initiatives, partners who sign the pledge and commit to the work involved ensure that even more people are empowered to upskill.  

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