Since its foundation in 1942, Norbar has been committed to carrying out business in a way which is fair and socially responsible. This is reflected in its employment policies, commitment to the local community, charitable giving (both locally and internationally) and environmental policies.
The care of our employees and by extension their families is part of our commitment to Banbury and the neighbouring community. We believe in high quality local employment to sustain the local area.
Local community and charitable giving
Norbar has been involved in the local community since its foundation and continues to show its commitment locally in a variety of ways including:
- Participation on the Board of the Chamber of Commerce
- Sponsorship of the Banbury Football, Rugby and Cricket teams
- Partnership with North Oxfordshire Academy including the provision of mentors, work experience placements and internships
- Board representation at the Engineering Trust, which promotes engineering in Oxfordshire
- Providing in-school sessions on engineering careers at local schools
- Taking work experience students from schools and colleges
- Involvement in awarding the Rotary Club of Banbury “Brodey Bursary” to engineering undergraduates
- Sponsoring young engineer and innovation competitions
- Sponsoring the Cherwell District Business Awards and Banbury Innovation Award
With respect to charitable giving, each year Norbar employees vote to choose one or two local charities to nominate as the company’s “charity of the year” and then work to fund raise for those charities throughout the year. Employee ideas for fund raising have included an intra-company football match, taking part in external sponsored events such as the Broughton Castle Cycling Festival and the Wolf Run, a fishing competition and a variety of raffles. In addition Norbar’s charity committee meets every two months to consider and approve donations to (primarily) local charities and makes approximately 20 - 30 small donations a year to local charities and individuals. In kind support is also given, for example providing gardening for Katharine House Hospice. All employees are entitled to take a certain amount of paid time off (in addition to their holiday allowance) to take part in charitable volunteering.
While the focus of its support is on local charities, Norbar has also looked at ways in which it can help people in need further afield and as a result has recently teamed up with Oxfam as part of its Oxfam Collects at Work scheme (https://www.oxfam.org.uk). Oxfam has launched this scheme in an effort to build up the stock for its charity shops and make it more convenient for people to donate by locating collection bins in places of work. Norbar has collection points at both of its Banbury premises. Norbar also supports toilet twinning to help provide safe and hygienic toilets for people in poor communities (http://www.toilettwinning.org/).
In general the business does not have a “high” environmental impact and minimises it by following the principles of “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”. For five years the company, in collaboration with a charity called Tolerance International, offset its carbon emissions by supporting a village community in Peru in a project to reforest 30 acres of land which had been slashed and burnt. The company has now changed its focus from carbon offsetting to carbon reduction and has signed heads of terms with the Low Carbon Hub (http://www.lowcarbonhub.org/) to investigate the possibility of placing solar panels on the company’s Wildmere Road facility. The size of the scheme has not yet been finalised but could have the capacity to generate up to 1,000 kW of renewable electricity. The Low Carbon Hub is a not for profit, social enterprise that works to lower carbon emissions across Oxfordshire by developing renewable energy and energy reduction projects for the benefit of communities. The scheme at Norbar will not only generate lower cost electricity for the company but will also provide a return to the Low Carbon Hub which will enable it to invest in supporting local communities to develop further renewable energy projects.
The company is currently reviewing its energy management systems in the light of the new Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme and is considering implementing an ISO 50001 compliant system.