This note marks our third Corporate Responsibility Report. Our firm has adapted successfully to a changing business landscape. Our core values remain intact as we move deeper into 2022 and we remain committed and focused on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues today and into the future.
As we mentioned in last year’s report, we do not intend to repeat our materiality assessment on an annual basis. In late 2021, however, we did decide to undergo a new materiality assessment as a firm. Our last assessment had been completed three years earlier and given the seismic shifts in the world over that period, we decided now was the right time. We capture the findings of our assessment within this report. In summary, we learned that our focus areas as a firm are still important to our clients, the students at the schools where we recruit, and our employees. We did note an elevated emphasis for social and governance issues among all our stakeholder groups. Although repeating the materiality assessment did not cause us to rethink our ESG model or drastically change our approach, it did confirm our views and highlight specific areas and ways in which we can target further improvement.
We had a highly successful year in 2021 across all our focus areas. Our Community Engagement team continued our commitment to partnering with charities in our local communities. We were able to make meaningful contributions to each of our seven partners, and we also introduced virtual volunteering opportunities to allow our employees to participate in the format they felt most comfortable with. In Employee Well-Being and Development, we continued to focus on wellness and expand our benefits. We developed a new leadership training program for our staff. Diversity and Inclusion remain a significant focus of our organization, and under the leadership of our Director of Diversity & Inclusion, our firm continues to make great strides. One specific accomplishment to note from 2021 was the development of our first Employee Resource Group (ERG). Due to its early success, we have already launched two more ERGs in 2022. Our Environment and Emissions team continues to track and manage our carbon impact, and we have again offset all our identified carbon emissions from last year. We have a constant focus on Data Privacy and Cybersecurity, and we ensure our tools and practices are always up to date and our staff is trained and knowledgeable of their responsibilities. Finally, Business Ethics and Integrity remained the most important ESG focus area to both our employees and our outside stakeholders in our latest materiality assessment. Our priorities in 2021 included a renewed focus on safety and well-being in the hybrid workplace, business transparency, and protecting client information. These are just a few of our highlights from last year.
In 2021, just like every other year since ScottMadden was founded in 1983, we earnestly attempted to do what was in the best interest of our clients and our people. To us, sustainability means much more than just environmental impact. It is also about our people and the quality of our relationships and is grounded in our core values of respect, trust, service, accountability, and inclusion. In this report, you will see examples of our efforts to improve the lives of our employees and those surrounding them.
We are proud of what we have accomplished but are always pushing forward to do more. I am impressed each day by our team’s remarkable resilience and support for one another, and I look forward to sharing the progress we will continue to make for our team, clients, communities, and the environment.
Sussex Economic Advisors is now part of ScottMadden. We invite you to learn more about our expanded firm. Please use the Contact Us form to request additional information.