People, planet and profit: why SmithsonHill is committed to positively impacting all…


Established in 2015, SmithsonHill has achieved a lot in a short amount of time. Its parent companies though, Russell Smith Farms and Hill Commercial Investment are a little longer established (1938 and 1999 respectively). Both bring to the partnership a strong commitment to creating social value, something that we know is well worth replicating.  

 “Commitment to creating social value?” I hear you ponder. “What does this mean?”  Let me explain … 

Social value is a term that’s doing the rounds at the moment. It seems to mean different things to different people. To us it means treating the impact that the work we do has upon the community and the environment in which we are doing it, with as much reverence as we treat the impact it has on the private sector’s traditional bottom line – profit.  

For us, this traditional bottom line has evolved to be about more than pure financial profit: it’s about delivering positive impact to the planet and the people in our local community (and beyond) too.  

 Such an approach, known as the triple bottom line (with its three elements expressed by many as social, environmental and financial, rather than people, planet and profit) is not new and is becoming increasingly common. All of our advisors, for example, practice business in this way. It is one of the reasons we selected them. Increasingly more and more companies, especially those in the public-sector, are putting measures in place to ensure that commercial enterprises like ours take care of the bigger picture in this way too. 

“Aha!” I hear some of you exclaim. “Is that why you’ve committed to the bigger picture? Due to external pressure?”

Well, of course we’re going to say ‘no’. Saying is one thing. Doing is another. So what do we say about our reasons for committing to being a socially responsible business and what do we actually do that is socially responsible? 

Here’s a snapshot. We trust that in sharing this you can see why we think that committing to creating social value makes good business sense and why it is not simply an act of compliance here at SmithsonHill… 

OK – let’s address the cynics first: yes, our commitment to social value helps us succeed and build positive relationships locally, nationally and globally. Creating social value is good business. It’s undeniable.  Which is, in part, why we’ve participated in community activities, such as:  

  • Supporting triathlon and golf days with the inspirational social venture Power2Inspire 
  • Hosting events for John Huntingdon’s Charity and Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust 
  • Sponsoring local sports teams, including Histon Football Club, Cambridge Rugby Club and Sawston Rugby Club 
  • Inviting local schools, special needs centres and care homes to inspirational events, often hosted at our premises 
  • Setting up female mentorship programmes across the property industry 
  • Sponsoring Cambridge Sustainable Food Hub’s fund-raising event, Swim the Cam   
  • Providing a bespoke artisan hamper full of locally produced food to Arthur Rank Hospice as a raffle prize 

Our community engagement, retention and recruitment statistics indicate that our community approve. 

Giving time and money to such community initiatives is not the only way we show our commitment to creating social value though. Our team regularly volunteer to community projects in one way or another. We favour using local suppliers, all other things being equal, and are committed to paying our supply chain promptly. We are also members of Agri-Tech EastCambridge WirelessCambridge NetworkOne NucleusCambridge AheadSmarter Cambridge TransportRail Haverhill and London Stansted Cambridge Consortium (LSCC) – all organisations committed to improving the infrastructure of the region.  

It’s no secret in the public sector that the community programmes with the most far reaching positive impact are those developed through strong, productive relationships between all stakeholders. We may be in the private sector, but we can see this makes sense. The more we all understand each other, the stronger the positive impact will be across the triple bottom line and the stronger the positive impact across the triple bottom line, the more productive, comfortable and happy everyone concerned will be.   

Creating social value alongside economic and financial value is a no-brainer. 

We’re always interested in ideas of how we can help communities across South Cambridgeshire in a way that brings people together and fosters innovation so do get in touch if you have any ideas… 

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