Corporate Social Responsibility


Plowden & Smith is a responsible business, committed to operating in a socially and environmentally responsible way


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is at the heart of Plowden & Smith business values and operations.

We understand that our business practices have the potential to make positive or negative economic, social and environmental impacts; and we recognize that this influence extends beyond the office door.

In our continual drive towards sustainable development, we have identified our key social, economic and environmental impacts and have either developed or are developing policies that ensure we meet the high expectations of our stakeholders.

In order to do this, we are committed to being open and honest in communicating our strategies, targets and performance to internal stakeholders and other interested parties.

The Managing Director of Plowden & Smith has overall responsibility for ensuring that the key objectives that make up our CSR policy are being met or that satisfactory progress is being made to meeting them. Part of this responsibility is to ensure that the necessary resources are available and creating a workplace culture where CSR can thrive.

Plowden & Smith has a long legacy as a responsible business and a conscientious employer. Our high levels of repeat business, and impressive staff retention rate is testament to the strong relationships we foster and the importance we place on employee well-being.


Key CSR Objectives

Our CSR Policy is focused on the key areas which our business has an impact: Clients, Employees, Community, Suppliers and Environment.

Our main objective is to ensure that our business culture and practices deliver, wherever possible, a positive impact on each of these key areas.

  • Clients – We have appointed a business development lead for each of our different key client sectors to ensure that we continue to be responsive and proactive in meeting our customers’ needs, and to develop a deeper understanding of the CSR objectives our clients value.
  • Employees – We provide a healthy, safe, inclusive and creative working environment that respects equality and diversity and that supports people in reaching their ambitions and goals.
  • Community – We are actively developing ways to support the community and neighborhood in which we work by identifying opportunities to deliver benefits and liaising with community officers to participate in local initiatives, such as Solar Together London, and the Merton Heritage Forum.
  • Environment – Within the constraints of providing museum-type services that frequently require the use of chemicals, woods, paper or packaging materials, we are committed to minimising the environmental impacts of our activities to ensure continuous improvement in our environmental performance.
  • Suppliers – In order to reduce our environmental impact, wherever possible we use local suppliers with a proven commitment to sustainability and can demonstrate, when challenged, a high level of due diligence in the way it sources its products or raw materials. We actively aim to use suppliers with CSR policies in place.


Targets so far:

London Living Wage. 100% of our employees are being paid the London Living Wage

Professional Development. All employees to have a personal Continued Professional Development fund and are encouraged to attend training courses.
Over the past two years, the company has invested £34,000 in courses that include ‘Health and Safety for Directors and Senior Managers’, ‘Verre Eglomise (gilding on glass)’, ‘Writing a Business Marketing Plan’, and ‘Plastics in Collection’. Over the past two years, 64% of staff have received training, with a target of hitting 100% attendance over the next year.
To meet this target, Line Managers are encouraged to share details of training courses they feel may be of interest to individual team members.

In addition to this, as part of our commitment to furthering professional development within the sector, we have provided almost £3000 worth of travel bursaries to help fourteen oversees delegates attend the 6th International Mountmakers Forum, taking place in September 2018.

Communication. Weekly and monthly Management and team meetings are held to discuss and receive feedback on important issues like workload, health and safety and sustainability issues. By January 2019, our target is set up regular one-to-one meetings with staff specifically to focus on professional and personal health and well-being.

Employee Engagement. Every employee has been involved in the design and specification of Plowden & Smith’s studio. This has included the selection of new equipment and processes, as well as opportunities to make wider suggestions about the specifications of the building.

Environment. All employees are encouraged to travel by public transport where possible, both between home and work and where travel is necessary to undertake on site duties. Over 80% of the company commute using public transport or bicycle. The Cycle to Work Policy is actively promoted within the company, and currently 15% of the workforce cycle, an increase of 100% over the past two years.
In order to reduce the number of journeys our vehicle makes, we offer a free collection and delivery service within London once a week. This has significantly lessened our fuel emissions.

Sustainability. We have several paper, plastic and glass recycling bins throughout the building. We source paper and office stationery from companies that are certified to ISO 14001 standards and can show a demonstrable commitment to operating in a sustainable way, for example by signing up to the Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN). Since 2016 Plowden & Smith has been moving towards a paper-free office and 99% of the sales invoicing and remittances has moved to a paperless process with all purchase invoices stored electronically reducing space and resource required.

Student placements. Plowden & Smith recognizes the importance of widening participation in the arts and heritage sector and is committed to offering young people work experience and professional training.
Since 2015 we have been an official industry partner with University College London (UCL), University of London. Every year we provide two six-month internships to students on their MA Conservation degree programme.
In 2017/2018 we took on an additional five students from other higher educational or equivalent training establishments.
We also offer work experience opportunities to students under the age of 18 with no formal qualifications or experience in conservation. We particularly welcome applications from communities currently underrepresented in the arts, including people with disabilities.
We give regular studio tours to students. Every employee is offered time off from work to pursue activities that contribute to conservation knowledge, typically this involves delivering lectures at educational establishments both within the UK and abroad.


Support for NFP Organisations

Since 2016/2017 Plowden & Smith has selected a company charity for the coming year.
Employees create a shortlist of charities, and then select one at random.
Employees then organise and run fundraising events, typically raising over £1500 each year for both local and national charities, including:

In 2017 an auction raised around £650 for the Royal Marsden Cancer Trust
In 2018 a Christmas Party raised around £600 the Cystic Fibrosis Trust

In 2019 Plowden & Smith made the decision to select a local company charity (or a local branch of a national charity) each financial year.

Our company charity for 2019/2020 is Age UK Merton. 

From time-to-time, in addition to the company charity, other charities or fundraising initiatives are supported. In 2018 this has included sending £200 to the Museum of Norwich, for their ‘Save Samson’ campaign to raise enough money to buy a showcase to rehouse a famous local landmark.

Plowden & Smith Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement

This voluntary statement has been published in accordance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015. It sets out the steps taken by Plowden & Smith to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking in its business and supply chains.

About Plowden & Smith

Plowden & Smith is a London-based fine art, furniture and object conservation company based in South London. We employ a team of 25 and offer specialist conservation and restoration services to galleries, museums, auction houses, and public and private collections in the UK and around the world.

Our Commitment to the Principles of the Modern Slavery Act 2015

Plowden & Smith is committed to the principles of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the abolition of modern slavery and human trafficking. As an equal-opportunities and living-wage employer, Plowden & Smith takes active steps to create and ensure a non-discriminatory and respectful working environment for its staff. Plowden & Smith’s recruitment and people management processes are designed to ensure that all prospective employees are legally entitled to work in the UK and to safeguard employees from any abuse or coercion once in our employment.

Our Supply Chain

Plowden & Smith recognise that our supply chain is central to our commitment to anti Modern Slavery.
Our supply chain is limited and we procure goods and services from a restricted range of UK and overseas suppliers.
Given the high-quality, specialist nature of the services we offer; the majority of companies that supply us with products and materials are small businesses, not obliged to publish statements on how they as a business are seeking to combat modern slavery.
Of the companies that Plowden & Smith procure from (in the region of 120), only 22 are of a size to be subject to Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. All 22 of these companies have published statements on slavery & human trafficking which include their mechanisms for guarding against modern slavery in their own supply chains.

Actions Plowden & Smith has taken in 2021-22

Over the past 12 months, Plowden & Smith has:

  • Made staff aware of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and informed them of the appropriate action to take if they suspect a case of slavery or human trafficking.
  • In 2021 we reviewed all 120 companies we procure from. Regardless of size, any company without a public Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking statement was approached by us to seek to establish what processes that company formally, or informally have in place to prevent modern slavery or human trafficking in their business practice, including their own supply chain.

Key Performance Indicators:

Plowden & Smith has never received complaints from employees, the public, or law enforcement agencies to indicate that modern slavery practices have been identified.

Actions to be taken in 2022-23

During 2022-23, Plowden & Smith will undertake the following activities:
We will continue to work to raise awareness of modern slavery within Plowden & Smith by reviewing and evaluating the measures and processes that we have implemented so far to ensure their effectiveness.

We will work with our suppliers and review our processes with our delivery partners to identify any additional measures we can take as a business to combat modern slavery and human trafficking.

Continue to develop a staff awareness strategy for the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and reporting mechanisms if a case of slavery or human trafficking is suspected.

Make information available to businesses to inform them of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the appropriate action to take if they suspect a case of slavery or human trafficking.

This statement has been approved by Plowden & Smith’s Managing Director, Camilla Hughes-Hunt.

– Camilla Hughes-Hunt, Plowden & Smith Ltd.