Sustainable Business: Responsible Business: Ethical Business: Green Business. Not only are these the demands of a generation facing ever increasing social and environmental challenges, the Companies Act 2006 now places an obligation on all company directors to consider the impact of their businesses on the community and the environment.
But this should be seen as an opportunity. SMEs embedding responsible business practices NOW will undoubtedly reap the rewards.
ORB is a business membership organisation for “responsible businesses.” We look forward to you joining us and helping you reap even greater rewards.
For businesses that would benefit from auditable certification, ORB has developed The Responsible Business Standard. Full details of this standard are detailed in the Responsible Business Workbook.You will see that the audit covers the responsible business agenda but with a structured business focus. For more information about The Standard and how it can provide even greater competitive advantage for your business, the link above will take you to a dedicated web site.
We would like to emphasise: the Organisation for Responsible Businesses is very much pro-business. We believe it is essential that businesses are profitable and ensuring this must be the first responsibility. But profitability should not override all other considerations. 'How' profits are made is extremely important and therein lies the key to other areas of responsibility that should never be overlooked.
Business responsibility is often known as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or Corporate Responsibility (CR). Throughout the world, CSR has many definitions with some describing it as a more philanthropic activity. The definition used in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development publication 'Making Good Business Sense' by Lord Holme and Richard Watts is perhaps one of the most widely used and accepted:
Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large
Note the inclusion of 'contribute to economic development.' It is also evident from the publication that genuine business responsibility is not a bolt on activity; it should be at the very heart of how a business operates to be really effective.
RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS = PROFITABLE BUSINESS
We use the phrase People, Planet Profit as part of ORB's signature because it embodies this approach to running a business. Similarly, this holistic process of pursuing positive results for people, planet and profit can be referred to as The Triple Bottom Line, also reflected in our logo.
We have broadly grouped responsible activities in to five key areas. These can be summarised as follows:
If you have employees, your responsibility arguably begins here. But the evidence is overwhelming that a trained, engaged and motivated workforce will result in less absenteeism, reduced staff turnover and more productivity. The workforce is invariably a business's greatest asset and should be treated as such. You will reap the rewards!
Legislation continues to increase and there are few businesses that are not required to adhere to specific rules and regulations. And yet it is still estimated that business could make £6.4bn per annum in savings on costs such as paper, waste disposal, water, heating and transport. How much could your business save?
Considering the needs of the local community can boost your reputation and have a considerable positive impact on your business. When possible, sourcing supplies and recruiting locally will help support the local economy. Engagement in community activities can have numerous benefits - and can be fun!
How well do you look after your suppliers, distributors and customers? Can you make any improvements to improve your businesses efficiency and reputation? Do you know anything about the goods you purchase? For example, could they have been made by child labour?
Values and Transparency
Do you operate in an open, honest and transparent way with employees, customers, suppliers, distributors and other stakeholders? Do you bring your personal ethics in to your business? Greed and lack of transparency has brought the economy to its knees. A new value culture is now imperative for business success.
Whatever stage your business is currently at, if you seriously want to become a better and more responsible business you can start straight away. But we recommend small steps. ORB does not expect its members to make dramatic changes overnight, but will help provide the support you need to move forward. Remember:
RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS = PROFITABLE BUSINESS
Basic membership of ORB demonstrates that you take your commitment to responsible business practices seriously. To provide even more tangible evidence, why not consider taking ORB's nationally recognised accreditation, The Responsible Business Standard? This auditable certification, available at bronze, silver and gold levels will provide clear evidence to customers, suppliers, staff and other stakeholders that your business is operated in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. Full requirements of this standard are published in the Responsible Business Workbook, together with a wealth of additional advice and support.
Telephone: 0845 459 9749
Organisation for Responsible Businesses Ltd
84 Wimborne Road
Registered in England and Wales. Company Registration no. 6830936
VAT Registration no. 972 6741 86
Registered Office: 84 Wimborne Road, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS2 4JR, UK