Making a difference

Materiality topics

> Community investing

> Indirect economic impacts

> volunteering

In running our business responsibly, we devote time and resources to supporting our local communities. Our people are inspired and motivated to give back and contribute to the wider communities in which we live, work and do business. This is an essential part of Martin Currie’s role as a good global citizen and demonstrates responsible stewardship. Our charitable and volunteering activities are driven by committed employees, with the full support of the business.

2017/18 Highlights

raised in donations by
Martin Currie employees in 2017
Good causes
good causes benefiting
from donations5

Charities supported in 2017

Martin Currie Charitable Foundation

The main platform for our charity and community involvement is Martin Currie Charitable Foundation (MCCF). It provides a structured way for Martin Currie employees to direct charity contributions and other resources. Founded and run by employees, it is the governing body and primary decision-making group for all charitable work carried out by staff (including donations, fundraising, volunteering and charity-partner liaison).

Donations received by MCCF are distributed to:

  • MCCF charity partners. 
  • Charities nominated by Martin Currie staff. 
  • Allocations to Martin Currie global offices to support local charities. 
  • To support fundraising and volunteering opportunities for Martin Currie employees.

MCCF fundraising

In 2017, £104,393 was raised by Martin Currie staff for the MCCF and distributed to good causes (an additional £8,039 raised by staff in offices outside Edinburgh went direct to charities).

2014 2015 2016 2017
Children's Health  £12,200  £8,750  £20,250  £1,250
Children's Welfare  £8,232  £1,983  £9,627  £32,434
Health  £23,038  £16,375  £11,100  £54,696
Social Welfare  £22,290  £11,275  £8,679  £16,012
Total £65,760 £ 38,383  £49,656  £104,393


VolunteeringWe believe volunteering can be as valuable as cash donations to the communities we support. MCCF works with Martin Currie to provide the opportunities for staff to develop new skills and grow by volunteering, both as individuals and teams. An Employee Volunteering Committee is responsible for identifying opportunities with our charity partners and other organisations within the communities in which we live and work.

Each member of staff is able to take one day paid annual leave per year to take part in Martin Currie-led volunteering initiatives. Work is ongoing as to how we can encourage more people to take up the opportunity in future years.

In addition, members of the Executive also serve on the boards of trustees of a number of charitable organisations, including Horseback UK and the National Galleries of Scotland.

Taking on a new challenge – PERU

MCCF’s flagship fundraising event, the Rob Roy Challenge (which is open to staff, clients, partners and the public) raises funds for our charity partners and provides a platform for the charities to fundraise directly. Following 11 successful years, we decided to take a break in 2017 in order to refresh the event. This left a void, in terms of the fundraising effort for charity partners, the growth-mindset opportunity and the sense of community created among staff and wider participants.

A group of employees inspired an alternative one-off event, which would provide a focus for fundraising and social activities throughout the year.

The 2017 Challenge Programme took place over six months, raising more than £81,000 for our charity partners. Funds were raised through several initiatives, including a 24-hour cycle challenge and sponsored charity events.

The Challenge was based around three tiers, which allowed all staff to participate in some form:

Tier 1

Tier 1 – A demanding physical challenge. A group of 13 Martin Currie volunteers, selected by an open ballot, took part in biking, hiking and white-water rafting in Peru. They also volunteered at the Chicuchas Wasi School for Girls, which was the lead charity partner to benefit from the Challenge Programme.

Tier 2

Tier 2 – External UK challenges. Employees were supported in taking part in other fundraising events. These included donations to participants in the Great North Run and the National Three Peaks Challenge.

Tier 3

Tier 3 – Staff fun days. Events were held in each office location for all staff to take part in.

Peru Challenge 1

Peru Challenge 2

Nicole Yap

Nicole Yap

Trader, Singapore

"While the biting winds, scorching heat, outdoor camping and physical pain from the Adventure Challenge might have stayed in my psyche for months to come, it was the spirit of the Peruvians we met along the road that really made a lasting impact. They were always kind – greeting us with a nod or wave and trying to hide their amusement as we struggled to catch our breath at 3,000 metres above sea level. Our guides were so generous with their time and experiences – sharing with us their ancient tales and going above and beyond to make us feel comfortable with their cuisine, their language, their city.

My highlight was meeting the staff and girls of the Chicuchas Wasi school. Built on the side of a (very steep) hill, it runs on donations, recycled materials and love. It has taken in at-risk girls who, despite their tough backgrounds, lovingly welcomed us, giving us their biggest smiles, showing off their best dresses and dance moves. Though language was a barrier, it was clear to us how the girls, as young as four, were treated with patience and respect and given the tools and freedom to express themselves. Many of us found it hard to say goodbye.

I may never cycle and trek for four days in a row again… but I'll definitely be back giving my time and energy to those in need."

My highlight was meeting the staff and girls of the Chicuchas Wasi School. Built on the side of a (very steep) hill, it runs on donations, recycled materials and love.

Jim McKee

Jim McKee

Infrastructure Analyst, Edinburgh

"I’d always been fascinated by Peru since seeing pictures of Machu Picchu in my early twenties, so the Adventure Challenge was an experience of a lifetime. However, this was more than just a sightseeing trip, it was our growth mindset in action, striving to do things better or never tried before – even if it takes you out of your comfort zone.

With white-water rafting, hiking and cycling up mountains, I knew I’d have to work on my personal fitness in advance and lost two stone, getting in the best shape I’ve been in for 10 years. Once in Peru, the challenges of the altitude meant even a simple task like having a shower left you breathless. But, I’ll never forget the final day of hiking, turning the corner at the Sungate and seeing the Machu Picchu citadel. No photograph could do it justice.

Many of us worked in different departments, or different offices, in Edinburgh, Melbourne and Singapore, and had maybe only had passing conversations, but we all quickly gelled as a team and became good friends.

The day spent at the school was a humbling experience. The girls stole our hearts, always smiling and happy – even though they came from backgrounds of extreme poverty and, in some cases, abuse. Near the end of our visit, we handed out little gifts. One little girl was given a plastic recorder, and it was as if she’d been given the moon, the look of sheer joy on her face was something to behold.

The main goal of the challenge was raising money for charities, some of them personal to members of the team. I nominated the British Heart Foundation (Scotland) and British Lung Foundation (Scotland) as my Dad has suffered heart attacks, eventually resulting in a triple bypass, and pulmonary fibrosis. The £81,000 we raised, from tandem skydiving, a 24-hour cycle, bingo nights, bake sales and more, greatly exceeded our expectations.

The challenge was hard work and sometimes very emotional, but all I have are amazing memories and I thank Martin Currie for giving me the opportunity."

The Chicuchas Wasi School for Girls

The Chicuchas Wasi School for Girls was founded in 1987, focusing on the abandoned children in Peru who were surviving alone on the streets of Cusco, creating a ‘safe house’ and providing nutrition, healthcare, schooling and life skills. Public education is not available to many families living in poverty in Peru, as parents cannot afford free public-school registration fees, uniforms, books, school supplies, and transportation. The school provides primary education, emphasising personal development, empowerment, and academics.

In total £14,328 was raised for the school. This paid for:

  • A new library, including new books and computers, as well as tables, chairs and floor pillows.
  • A bakery oven, used for baking class projects as well as a bakery business after hours where the girls are earning money for their education.
  • A social worker. The charity is still searching for a professional social worker to fill the position.

CSR Rob Roy

Rob Roy Challenge

First held in 2006, thousands of participants from around the world have entered as teams or individuals following the course along the Rob Roy Way in the Scottish Highlands.

A team has worked hard with event organiser Wild Fox Events to create a new look and established our first partner event in Australia. The 2018 Rob Roy Challenge (which was outside the reporting period) attracted more than 500 participants, including around 60 from Martin Currie.

Since 2014, the challenge has raised more than £500,000 for a number of charities.

The Fiona Walker Fund

Fiona Walker, daughter of Tom Walker (Portfolio Manager at Martin Currie), was diagnosed in 2011 with Glioblastoma, a type of cancer that effects the brain and spinal cord, which tragically took her life at the age of 19.

In 2016, Tom and his wife Claire discovered a team, led by Professor Steve Pollard at Edinburgh University, which carries out research into this specific form of cancer. To help raise funds to continue their research, they formed The Fiona Walker Fund.

In total £14,328 was raised for the Fund during the reporting period. This contributed to:

Purchasing an Ensight multi-mode plate reader and stacker for drug screening. This machine will allow the team to screen tumour cell responses to a range of candidate anti-cancer drugs, and obtain quantitative molecular data at 10 times the speed of their existing machines.