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GoodCorporation

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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:

  • Employees;
  • Customers;
  • Suppliers;
  • Community and environment;
  • Shareholders and financiers.

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.

Employees

The organization respects the dignity and rights of all employees. We -

  • Provide clear and fair terms of employment;
  • Provide clean, healthy and safe working conditions;
  • Have a fair remuneration policy everywhere we operate;
  • Strive for equal opportunities for all present and potential employees;
  • Encourage employees to develop skills and progress in their careers;
  • Do not tolerate any sexual, physical or mental harassment of our employees;
  • Do not discriminate on grounds of colour, ethnic origin, gender, age, religion, political or other opinion, disability or sexual orientation;
  • Do not employ underage staff.

Customers

The organization treats its customers with respect. We -

  • Seek to be honest and fair in our relationships with our customers;
  • Provide the standards of products and services that have been agreed;
  • Take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety and quality of the goods and services we provide.

Suppliers and subcontractors

The organization treats its suppliers and subcontractors with respect. We -

  • Seek to be honest and fair in our relationships with our suppliers and subcontractors;
  • Have a policy not to offer, pay or accept bribes or substantial favours;
  • Pay suppliers and subcontractors in accordance with agreed terms;
  • Encourage suppliers and subcontractors to abide by the principles of this Charter.

Community and environment

The organization seeks to be a good corporate citizen respecting the laws of the countries in
which we operate. We -

  • Aim to make the communities in which we work better places to live and do business;
  • Aim to be sensitive to the local community's cultural, social and economic needs;
  • Endeavour to protect and preserve the environment where we operate.

Shareholders (or equivalent) and other suppliers of finance

The organization is responsible to those who provide its funding. We -

  • Are financially accountable to our shareholders;
  • Communicate to shareholders all matters that are material to an understanding of the future prospects of the organization;
  • Aim to protect shareholders' funds, manage risks and ensure that funds are used as agreed.

Management commitment

We will do all in our power to conform to the letter and spirit of this charter.

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