An accreditation scheme for socially responsible businesses was launched in 2001, in the form of 'GoodCorporation'. According to operations manager Nick Bell, the program 'provides a means for organizations to develop and enhance responsible management practices'.
'GoodCorporations' are those companies - currently numbering about a dozen - that have applied for the badge and subsequently been approved by independent auditors. However, Bell stresses that companies can benefit from committing themselves to the GoodCorporation management framework, even if formal accreditation may be months or even years away.
GoodCorporation is a for-profit company based in the UK. Its chairman is Vicky Pryce, former chief economist at auditors KPMG, and the chief executive officer is another former KPMG partner, Michael Littlechild.
According to its creators, GoodCorporation is different from anything that has gone before because it looks at corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the context of all an organization's relationships and impacts.
The 'GoodCorporation charter', launched in July 2001, sets out 21 commitments categorized into five areas of corporate engagement, namely:
It is based on a charter drawn up by the Institute of Business Ethics.
Participating organizations, which can be companies, NGOs or government departments, are charged on the basis of their size. Fees range from under £1,000 ($1,450) for a company employing 10 people or fewer to £9,000 ($13,000) for a business with 1,000 to 5,000 staff. In return, the organization is audited annually, a process which involves site visits.
Current 'GoodCorporations' include ARM Holdings, Bovince, Ladbrokes, and Guildford College of Further & Higher Education.
Verification is a three-stage process, namely registration, preparation, and application. Applicants are free to choose a verifying company from a list conpiled by GoodCorporation. Verifiers that have been involved to date include BVQI, Intertek Testing Services, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS).
The scheme is designed to be appropriate for all sizes of organization, including small companies. The organisers believe the latter 'can be put off by bureaucratic procedures that may seem inappropriate or unnecessary'.
What the GoodCorporation charter says:
While we are accountable to our shareholders (or equivalent for not-for-profit organisations), we take into account the interests of all our stakeholders including our employees, customers and suppliers as well as the community and environment in which we operate.
The organization respects the dignity and rights of all employees. We -
The organization treats its customers with respect. We -
Suppliers and subcontractors
The organization treats its suppliers and subcontractors with respect. We -
Community and environment
The organization seeks to be a good corporate citizen respecting the laws of the countries in
Shareholders (or equivalent) and other suppliers of finance
The organization is responsible to those who provide its funding. We -
We will do all in our power to conform to the letter and spirit of this charter.
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