The Responsible Business Standard

Despite the plethora of standards already in existence, rarely has anything been developed that is specifically suitable for small businesses, even though it is these businesses who deliver roughly half of the nation’s GDP.

However, a new standard is being launched that could change all that.

The Organisation for Responsible Business (ORB) has developed the Responsible Business Standard specifically for small and medium-sized businesses, with the promise that achieving the standard is affordable, attainable and of value.

It’s particularly difficult for SME’s to tap into larger supply chains, such as those in the public sector, especially when they are often asked for evidence of certification (such as ISO 9001). ISO 9001 certification may well be desirable to the smaller companies but to do it well requires a large investment in time, resource and often, expense. It is hoped that this new standard will bridge the gap between having no certification and being able to demonstrate good business practice.

To achieve certification to The Responsible Business Standard, a company needs to demonstrate that it operates efficiently and ethically, meets and exceeds legislation, and always considers its impact on the people (the workforce, the community and society at large) and the environment.

The following is a quick outline of the areas of a business that the standard covers, remembering that in each area, the company needs to show that it meets legislation, demonstrates good practice over and above being compliant, and evidence of ongoing development:

  • the workplace – HR, H&S, employee engagement, equality and diversity
  • the environment – legislation, policies/procedures, committment to reducing environmental impacts
  • the marketplace – legislation, standards, stakeholder engagement, supply chain initiatives
  • the community – awareness of local issues, supporting the local community
  • ethics, values and transparency – how these are embedded in the business
  • business continuity – precautionary measures to ensure business continues when facing disruption

Certification to the standard is awarded at three levels – gold, silver and bronze, and fees for certification audits are around £500.

If you would like more information, contact me on 07986442979.

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