Small businesses are being offered a new way to have their employee wellbeing, sustainability and diversity credentials acknowledged thanks to a fresh collaboration between Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Good Business Charter (GBC).
Firms with up to 50 employees can now 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, sustainability and Net Zero.
- 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 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."
Greenwich Pantry Director Lara Omoloja said: “At Greenwich Pantry, our GBC accreditation helps us stay on track with sustainability goals. Achieving these goals are key to our overall success as a food business since decisions we make now, impacts the future for all of us directly or indirectly. We believe small businesses will benefit from seeking accreditation early in their development for the good of their communities.”
Jerba Campervans Director Simon Poole said: "Jerba Campervans is a small business with only 13 employees, but we see our Good Business Charter accreditation as a vital mark in our commitment to being an ethical and sustainable company. Going hand in hand with being 100% employee-owned, the accreditation is also becoming increasingly important for many customers who simply wish to see businesses behaving responsibly and doing the right thing. It’s great for customers, great for the business and great for wider society too!"