Sunday, July 3, 2022

Small firms given new chance to champion ethical practice

Small businesses are being offered a new way to have their employee wellbeing, sustainability and diversity credentials acknowledged thanks to a fresh collaboration between FSB and the GBC.

Firms with up to 50 employees can apply for Good Business Charter accreditation through a streamlined application process.

The new assessment has been designed in recognition of the time and financial pressures faced by small business owners, especially against a backdrop of trading restrictions and the end of the transition period.

The Good Business Charter – brain child of Richer Sounds Managing Director Julian Richer, who handed control of the firm to his employees in the summer of 2019 – enables businesses to have their commitment to ethical practice recognised by clients, employees and the wider community alike.

The new application process consists of a short questionnaire covering:

– Pay, hours and staff wellbeing.

– Employee representation and diversity.

– Environmental responsibility and sustainability.

– Transparency and ethical sourcing.

– Prompt payment.

FSB research shows that small firms often play a role in local communities that transcends the transactional.

Its ‘New Horizons’ report shows that over half (57%) of small firms have played such a role throughout the Covid pandemic, with large numbers donating to food banks (24%), directly supporting key workers (23%) or signing-up to volunteer for the NHS (9%).

The group’s assessment of poor payment practice in the wake of current disruption shows that the UK’s late payment crisis is intensifying. Almost two-thirds (62%) of small firms have suffered an increase in late payments or had payments frozen as a result of Covid-19.

FSB Development Manager Natalie Gasson-McKinley said: “Ethical policies provide real opportunities for businesses to boost their bottom line, but without clearly defined goals and tangible ways of measuring outcomes it’s difficult to know where to start.

“With a growing number of consumers searching out ethical businesses, it’s important that businesses start or continue to adopt ethical trading policies. The collaboration between FSB and GBC helps small firms to embed good ethical practices and for these improvements to be recognised.”

FSB National Vice Chair Martin McTague said: “These are exceptionally hard times for small businesses. That’s why it’s so important that those who are dedicated to ethical practices are provided with a streamlined route to Good Business Charter accreditation.

“Commitment to the Charter can not only help with employee wellbeing and productivity, but also with growth. Everyone wants to buy from firms that do right by their communities and society as a whole. By securing this accreditation, firms can show that they are doing just that.”

Good Business Charter founder and Richer Sounds Managing Director Julian Richer said: “We welcome this opportunity to work closely with FSB and take an important step forward to ensure the accreditation works for small businesses.

“Richer Sounds started as a small business and as it grew, responsible business practices have always been at the heart of our approach to all stakeholders.

“We want the GBC to work equally well for small businesses as for the largest UK companies and are excited about the potential small businesses now have to lead the way in being recognised for their ethical practices.”

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