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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

URW: Rethinking Corporate Citizenship by Reinventing “Being Together”

A good corporate citizen makes a positive social impact and meets the highest legal, ethical, and economic standards. This past year, making a real difference in people’s lives took on new significance as so many communities, including Los Angeles, struggled with the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) – developer and operator of flagship shopping and lifestyle destinations, including local L.A. landmarks Westfield Century City and Westfield Topanga & The Village – good corporate citizenship is about three things:

• Prioritizing the safety and well-being of customers, employees, business partners, and the wider community;

• Affording direct quantifiable benefits to the local economy; and

• Leaving long-lasting impacts on the community’s social fabric, making tangible contributions to culture, education, quality of life, diversity, equity, and long-term environmental sustainability.

URW’s company purpose to Reinvent Being Together and its global CSR platform, “Better Places 2030,” form an inclusive, all-encompassing vision to make meaningful contributions to the broader health, happiness, and well-being of local communities. This commitment prompted URW to deploy industry-leading health protocols across its six L.A. area shopping centers to keep guests and visitors safe, earning the Bureau Veritas SafeGuard hygiene and safety excellence certification for its efforts.  

URW also introduced a number of customer conveniences designed to minimize Covid-19 exposure risks, including new curbside pick-up and home delivery options, digital queuing technologies, shop-by-appointment services, and the distribution of personal protective equipment.

In 2020, the company also launched #WestfieldCares, a campaign intended to help drive awareness and marshal resources for vulnerable communities.  As part of this effort, URW partnered with the American Red Cross in support of its LAUSD School Lunch Program to provide daily meals for children in need, in addition to supporting some 30 local nonprofits such as the Downtown Women’s Center, LA Family Housing, and the PATH Homeless initiative.  In parallel, URW also:

• Partnered with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on a community health awareness initiative;

• Worked with such organizations as the AFL-CIO’s Labor Community Services, the East Side Riders Bike Club, FeedCulver, and the Mid-Valley YMCA to distribute meals and PPE items to at-risk individuals;

•  Established partnerships with approximately 40 charities and community organizations dedicated to economic empowerment in the African American and other minority communities, including Homeboy Industries and Project Destined; and

• Launched its new URW Entrepreneurship Program to support small businesses, while fostering new economic opportunities for minority and women-owned suppliers, vendors, and retailers.

Alongside these philanthropic priorities, URW’s L.A. corporate headquarters and shopping centers provide jobs for approximately 24,000 local residents, making the company one of the 10 largest sources of employment in the entire county and the second-largest source in the corporate sector.  The company’s local shopping centers collectively host some 1,300 retail tenants – many of which are small and local businesses – and generate more than $400 million in sales tax revenues on an annual basis.  

URW has seen firsthand how a company can do well by doing good. Weaving social responsibility principles directly into the fabric of company culture and business operations can drive employee recruitment and engagement; increase diversity, inclusivity, and economic empowerment; and more than anything, make an indelible impact on local communities most in need of support.

Marcus Reese, EVP, is the  Director of Corporate Affairs at URW.

Learn more at westfield.com.

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