When SocialOptic was founded, we thought as much about HOW we would do business as WHAT business we would do. While our products and business model have evolved in the years that have followed, the kind of business we want to be has not changed. To us it is self-evident that businesses are not independent entities, and that businesses can have significant impacts on the wellbeing of society, either positive or negative. Each business operates in an ecosystem of suppliers, partners, customers, families, communities and more. A healthy businesses requires a healthy ecosystem, and healthy businesses support healthy ecosystems.

One of the challenges in establishing and growing a business is in selecting suppliers that share the same priorities and values, and finding the right customers – customers that contribute not just revenue, but who are partners in our mission to create better workplaces and organisations that positively contribute to society. This alignment is critical for effective collaboration and long term value, but it’s very hard to establish within the context of typical commercial criteria, and sometimes suppliers may try to win business without counting the cost or impact. For SocialOptic, supplier selection is something that involves a great deal or research and thought, and it has often been hard to help suppliers understand that for us it is about much more than the exchange of goods or services. Who we partner with shapes who we are, and is a significant factor in our impact on society and on the world.

In listening to Julian Richer talk about his vision for the Good Business Foundation, we recognised something that we wanted to be part of and to support, and so we are pleased to announce that we have been accredited by the Good Business Charter. The Good Business Foundation is lead by a team of trustees including representatives from the CBI and the TUC, and the charter consists of 10 components, which can be found on their website: www.goodbusinesscharter.com.

As an organisation:

  1. We commit to pay our directly employed and regularly contracted staff the real living wage as defined by the Living Wage Foundation.
  2. We commit to only use zero or minimal hours contracts when it is mutually beneficial and accepted by both us and the employee.
  3. We will actively support and encourage employee well-being treating those with legitimate sickness in a fair and respectful manner and promote access to impartial support and advice for employees with physical and mental health needs.
  4. We commit to having a way where every employee can make suggestions or raise issues with senior management.
  5. We commit to have robust measures in place to encourage diversity at key stages of recruitment, selection and retention of employees and to prevent harassment or victimisation in the workplace.
  6. We care about the environment and encourage the development of good environmental practice as an organisation, seeking to minimise our impact and commit to improve it.
  7. We commit to pay our taxes where applicable, only use tax allowances for the purpose intended, and be transparent in our relationship with HMRC.
  8. We have a clear commitment to our stakeholders and prioritise addressing and learning from stakeholder feedback, seeking to put negative issues right.
  9. We commit to ethical sourcing of anything we purchase, such as by applying standards set out in the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code where relevant. 
  10. We commit to paying our suppliers promptly, and within at least 30 days.

These are not just our commitments, they are a way of holding ourselves accountable to our vision of the kind of business that we want to be, and to the kind of business ecosystem that we want to support. Working towards being a better business is easier when you are working together.