Raising the bar on business behaviour together

“This initiative provides a framework for what responsible business behaviour looks like and I would encourage businesses across the country to sign up to the scheme.” Jonathan Geldart, Director General of the Institute of Directors.

Working with the Good Business Charter

In March 2021, the Institute of Directors became the GBC’s 1,000th organisation to accredit. It joined a range of organisations from different sectors that were willing to hold themselves accountable across 10 components for their responsible business practices covering care for employees, customers, suppliers and the planet whilst paying their fair share of taxes.

Since becoming GBC accredited themselves, the IoD has worked in collaboration with the GBC to amplify messages about the importance of responsible business.

On accrediting, Dr Roger Barker invited Julian Richer, founder of the GBC, to join him for a Directors Briefing podcast. Here they discussed the importance of businesses adopting and communicating their responsible business practices, and the importance of the Charter as a way to raise the bar on business behaviour in the UK.

Roger also spoke at a GBC event in 2023 on ‘Showcasing Social Impact’, where he outlined the value for the IoD in accrediting as an SME, taking advantage of its ready-made framework in which to take forward their good business practices.  He shared how the Charter’s 10 components aligned with their own values as an organisation.

“We hope to encourage more and more businesses, entrepreneurs and large businesses to sign up to the GBC so it can become an industry framework.”
Dr Roger Barker
Director of Policy and Corporate Governance at the Institute of Directors

The GBC and IoD have also collaborated to support their members on their responsible business journeys.  For example, some of the GBC’s accredited SMEs provided case studies for the IoD’s EDI Toolkit ‘The Future of Business: harnessing diverse talent for success’ and other resources and events have been shared.  More recently the IoD joined the GBC in celebrating the first Good Business Week.

Why should Directors care about the Good Business Charter?

Accreditation provides organisations with an opportunity to lead the way and be part of raising the bar on business behaviour so that all UK businesses are operating on a level-playing field.

Talk of environmental and social impact has become mainstream. Whether it is customers, employees, investors or other stakeholders – people are asking the question about a businesses’ social license to operate and what it is doing to care for people and planet.

  • 97% of consumers in a 2021 poll said they think it is important for a business to act responsibly. (TSB Consumer poll, June 2021)
  • The most recent Institute of Business Ethics survey (2023) found that 43% of respondents felt that corporate tax avoidance was the most important ethical issue for them. This topped the list for the 11th year running.
  • Almost half of younger workers (46%) want the company they work for to demonstrate a commitment to ESG, and 20% have turned down a job offer when the company’s ESG commitments were not in line with their values. (KPMG, January 2023)

Most consumers want more consistent information from businesses, and more than half polled by the TSB in 2021 would value a simple independent certification. This is exactly what the Good Business Charter seeks to be.  It is independent, it is a certification, and it is simple to understand.

As well as attracting both customers and employers to the company, the Good Business Charter can be an effective tool for companies to use in their ethical sourcing and as they come to assess their Scope 3 emissions as part of the journey to net zero.

It may be that the company you are a director of has already been asked by a business customer to provide evidence of their emissions as part of that larger company’s own process of environmental measurement.

Last year research stated that only 19% of SMEs were aware of what ESG is and only 12% were implementing formal practices.  There is much on offer for the ones who are in that 12% and GBC accreditation helps frame that journey across a range of areas that champion people and planet.

Place-based Good Business Charter

The IoD and GBC would like to not only encourage more businesses to review their practices and accredit, but also more IoD members to join the movement to promote the benefits of embedding responsible business practices and the GBC within the regions.

In 2021 York became the first GBC city with anchor institutions including the local authority and both universities accrediting alongside a range of organisations including Aviva and Joseph Rowntree Foundation.  This is a model the Good Business Charter hopes to replicate in other parts of the United Kingdom and working with local partners including the IoD and FSB are a key part of building up a community that recognises and champions responsible business behaviour.

The focus of the GBC aligns with many of the local aims in a particular town, city, region or borough, including green growth, a more inclusive economy and reduced inequality.  As such, it is an effective framework for local partners to agree upon and promote in the same way as some regional employment charters do.

Better directors for a better world

The IoD supports directors and business leaders across the UK and beyond to learn, network and build successful, responsible businesses.

Enhancing transparency and accountability

Browse valuable governance resources from the IoD.
Internet Explorer
Your web browser is out of date and is not supported by the IoD website. It is important to update your browser for increased security and a better web experience.