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Why We Need The Good Business Charter

Why We Need The Good Business Charter

The time is right for a ‘Good Business Charter’ to encourage responsible business behaviour and to publicly acknowledge those organisations who exhibit such behaviour. Our aim is to inspire as many organisations as possible to change their behaviour, where required, in order to sign up, which should in turn encourage wider good business practice.

The GBC is non-partisan

This is a non-partisan initiative. Governments of all stripes have an interest in responsible businesses creating jobs, generating tax revenues to support public services and behaving in an ethical manner. We of course hope that government and other public sector bodies will look favourably at those businesses that have signed up to the Good Business Charter which could over time become a competitive advantage for firms.

The GBC hopes to nudge even more organisations towards responsible business behaviour by getting them to focus on all the components of the Charter. The GBC does not work on the basis of achieving an average score or picking and choosing different aspects to adhere to.  Rather it is a simple In/Out accreditation with a holistic recognition of those organisations operating responsibly in all of these key areas.  We hope that employees will wish to work for organisations that sign up to the Charter; that customers will use their buying power to favour accredited organisations and that investors will favour GBC members also.

Improves accountability

This charter improves accountability. It is a voluntary accreditation and one that we hope companies, charities and public sector organisations will be enthusiastic to join. There are a lot of good organisations and entrepreneurs in the UK that already operate to the GBC principles, and who are keen for accreditation to recognise their responsible behaviour. We hope that others will modify their behaviour so as to gain this accreditation.

Our Ten Components

How/why did we select these initial 10 components?

The 10 components cover employee conditions, tax, the environment, and the treatment of suppliers and customers. Whilst we could have had more elements we consider that these 10 are all achievable for most organisations and will make the most significant difference in the shortest period of time. We will canvass feedback from members and evolve the criteria going forwards.

We have also developed an accreditation for the public sector, charities and other organisations in the third sector, which covers nine components because the tax component is not relevant for them.  We want to recognise public sector and third sector organisations that have responsible practices towards the environment, their employees, stakeholders and suppliers alongside the valuable public service/charitable work they do.

Businesses, public sector and third sector organisations self-certify to the Good Business Charter through the website but will be expected to submit relevant documentation as proof of compliance. The GBC will attempt to rigorously uphold its standards and work closely with partners to ensure appropriate monitoring and enforcement.

The Good Business Charter measures behaviour over ten important components but we believe responsible behaviour by organisations shouldn’t be limited to these.  Members are expected to adhere to the spirit of the Good Business Charter in their dealings with all stakeholders (workers, customers, subcontractors, suppliers, and the community), in their approach to the environment and in their legal and financial compliance.   In the event of a material issue occurring which could question their right to membership then the Trustees’ decision is final in deciding whether it should be rescinded.

All organisations are eligible for GBC accreditation irrespective of their line of business, as long as they are operating within UK law.  In exceptional circumstances, the GBC’s Ethics Committee will review applications which meet the 10 Charter criteria but may nonetheless not warrant accreditation.

With regard to the situation in Ukraine, we refer members to the response issued by the Ethical Trading Initiative.  The Good Business Foundation believes organisations should be looking with real urgency at their interactions with Russia and where possible, and at speed, take measures to be able to disengage whilst looking after their workers.