Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why should I join?
The Good Business Charter is a simple way to be recognised for your responsible business practices. You may find you are performing well in most of the components but can improve your practices further in two or three which will be of overall benefit to your organisation. Our third-party accreditation will also point people to your doors as more and more people look for evidence of responsible business practices. Application is through an online self-certification process and takes less than one hour to complete. We hope the GBC, because of its simplicity and cost effectiveness, will quickly gain support and therefore critical mass, which will give it important and influential authority to change business practice for good.
2. I am a sole trader with no employees. Can I still accredit?
Yes you can! The Good Business Charter is for all sizes and shapes of organisation and we are proud to have sole traders, limited liability partnerships and charities as part of our membership, alongside small, medium and large companies.
3. How much does it cost?
There is no joining fee and the first year of membership is free. After that organisations with up to 50 employees will be charged a flat fee of £25. For larger organisations we are charging just £1 per FTE of your employees on an annual basis. So if you have 80 employees you will pay just £80 a year, if 180 employees, then £180 and if 1,800 employees, then £1,800 up to a limit of £2,500 (capped at £500 for public sector and charities).
4. How long does it take?
If you have all the information to hand it will take less than an hour to apply through our simple online self-certification process.
5. What if I can’t qualify for one component?
The Good Business Charter requires you to qualify for every component. That is the way we keep it simple and straightforward so that everyone understands what an organisation displaying the GBC brand has committed to. We do include within the self-certification process the intention to meet the requirements of a component and you have three months to start putting in process these changes.
6. How will you enforce it?
We view businesses in a positive light and hope that they would not knowingly give false information in the self-certification. However, to ensure robust monitoring, we undertake appropriate checks as part of our accreditation process and we use a system of whistle-blowing where we invite any stakeholder of one of our members who believes that member is not upholding the standards of the GBC to contact us and alert us to this. We will then initiate a full investigation with that member and will not hesitate to remove their membership if they are found to not be compliant.
7. Do you have any guidance or templates for any of the components?
No. The Good Business Charter is an accreditation scheme and does not have the capacity to provide specific guidance on how to meet each component. There are other organisations working in this sector who we feel are better placed to do this. Take a look at our Helpful Links page for details of some of these.
8. My team is small. Is an employee satisfaction survey still necessary?
This may sound unnecessary with only a few employees who all have direct access to the boss, however we do think it is good practice to provide an anonymous way for a concern to be raised – even though in practice the best way to address it would most likely be to get everyone together anyway!
There is something useful also, as a minimum, in rating how happy your employees are in their workplace rating 1-5 and measure against prior years (or every 2 years which is what we ask). A Survey Monkey survey with 3 or 4 questions would be sufficient to meet this requirement.
9. We have less than 250 employees and are a private company. Why do we need to collect and report diversity data and the CEO pay ratio?
We appreciate that publishing your gender pay ratio and your CEO pay ratio to median employee is only a legal requirement for listed companies with over 250 employees. However, the Good Business Charter seeks to go beyond legal compliance and set a high standard for what responsible businesses are doing.
While we are not advocating that all employees should earn the same we do believe that reporting the CEO pay ratio is good practice in terms of transparency, accountability and reducing inequality. We also wherever possible like companies to show a clear commitment to ensuring a diverse workforce where everyone can thrive.
10. What standards do I need to meet for environmental responsibility?
We are not prescriptive about how you meet the environmental responsibility component recognising that it is different for every individual organisation. The focus is on identifying your own environmental impact and setting out a plan for minimising it. We can recommend consultancies that can assist you with this.
11. Ethical sourcing is irrelevant to me. Why do I need to commit to the ETI Base Code?
We do not expect organisations to sign up to the Ethical Trading Initiative and recognise that for non-trading organisations, the Base Code may not seem relevant.
There is an established principle of leverage in due diligence, which reduces your responsibility the less you consume. If an organisation does not buy very much, it would be disproportionate to expect them to spend as much time checking suppliers as we would expect a large trading organisation to. Every organisation should still do something – we recommend a modern slavery act statement which outlines the steps it takes to avoid human rights abuse in its services and supplies. With agency staff, which can be an area of risk, we would recommend an organisation ask the companies they use to supply labour for their own policies on avoiding abuse and ethical practices.
12. How do I sign up to the Prompt Payment Code and how much does it cost?
It is free to sign up to the Prompt Payment Code. You can do this here: https://www.smallbusinesscommissioner.gov.uk/ppc/ and will need references from some of your suppliers.
13. We pay real living wage but are not Living Wage Foundation accredited. Does that matter?
We support full accreditation to the Living Wage Foundation which costs little and ensures you are committed to the payment of a living wage. The Living Wage Foundation also ensures your regularly-contracted staff are paid real living wage, not just those on your payroll.
14. We are in the public sector/a charity. What does the GBC offer us?
The Good Business Charter offers a GBC for charities which measures your responsible business practices on 9 of the 10 components given that the tax component is not applicable. We believe there is huge value in all organisations, whether for profit or not, committing to care for their employees, customers, suppliers and the environment and that is why charities such as Shelter and The Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Housing Trust have signed up to us.
15. How do I promote the Good Business Charter brand?
Let’s get creative! We want to get the logo as visible as possible and get recognition from the general public as to what it is for your benefit as the public look for and favour your business as a result. There are lots of different ways we suggest here: https://goodbusinesscharter.com/promoting-the-gbc-brand/
16. How does it differ to Business in the Community, Blueprint for Better Business and the various accreditation bodies such as B Corporation?
The Good Business Charter is UK based and is designed to be simple and not expensive, whilst at the same time encouraging businesses to be more responsible (and recognise those already doing all our 10 components). The B-Corps, whilst worthwhile, is a lengthier process with a higher cost. We believe the simplicity and cost effectiveness of the Good Business Charter will encourage many organisations of all sizes to sign up so we can quickly get a critical mass which we hope will in turn encourage other businesses to join them and in turn encourage wider good business practice.
We are a small charity and are therefore not experts in each of the ten components. As such we offer what advice or support we can, and are happy to introduce you to other GBC accredited organisations who may specialise in a particular component. We also encourage our members to go to other organisations such as Blueprint for Better Business and BITC to further develop the way they are doing responsible business, but the GBC enables them to set out as a baseline what they are committed to.
17. I believe an accredited organisation are not holding up to one of the components. For example, I know they are not paying their employees the Real Living Wage. What do I do?
Did we answer all your questions? If not, please do not hesitate to email us with your question firstname.lastname@example.org and we will endeavour to answer it promptly.
Good Business Charter
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If you have reason to believe that a GBC accredited organisation is not meeting its obligations, please let us know.