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  • Fran 7:51 am on October 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: B Corps, , B Lab UK, , , Scottish Government, sustainability   

    B the change 

    There’s so much more to being a B Corp than certification. Of course we’re delighted about the recognition we and other founding B Corps have in the UK, but actually our real excitement is around the lasting pleasure and value of being part of this innovative, energetic community.

    And what a bunch! I have it on good authority – from B Lab co-founder Bart Houlahan himself – that the September 24th launch of the movement in the UK was the most successful yet. Held at the packed Proud Galleries in Camden, North London, it combined an epic party with music, dancing, drinking and ‘ringing the bell’ to celebrate the 62 newly certified members of the UK B Corp community.

    It's official - One Stone is re-certified!

    It’s official – One Stone is re-certified!

    Fellow B Corps inspired us with their challenging business ideas. Michele Giddens explained how impact investor Bridges Ventures enables sustainable innovation and returns for investors by supporting entrepreneurs who want to deliver social benefit. James Rutter from Cook turned conventional wisdom on flaccid convenience food on its head, and introduced us to Cook’s delicious, high quality and low impact frozen meals for busy people. And Matthew Boyes explained how social networking site streetlife makes the world wide web local by reconnecting neighbourhoods and people.

    There was hushed anticipation as Paul Polman – by video link from New York – announced that he will be setting up a B Corp group for multinationals. Quite an undertaking. Getting certified as a small company is a challenge, for huge ones it’s a bona fide expedition.
    B Lab Scotland red v2

    And led by Bart Houlahan, a small band from the B Corp community made another kind of trip North the day after the launch. Scotland is a country committed to prosperity with fairness, and the Scottish Government has set objectives to underpin its core purpose in five areas: wealthier & fairer; healthier; safer & stronger; smarter; greener. The potential overlap between Scottish Government policy and the aims of B Corps is good, so we invited Bart to introduce the B Corp concept to a roundtable of senior civil servants, business people and the social enterprise community. We enjoyed an engaged and lively discussion, Bart was brilliant and our plan to build a thriving B Corp community in Scotland received a huge boost.

  • andrea 6:11 am on September 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , sustainability,   

    The business case for a strong culture of integrity 

    Ethics is a growing business issue. You can barely open a newspaper today or turn on the TV without hearing about yet another company paying the price for poor employee judgment, bad conduct or inadequate oversight. But why should companies care?

    For a start, the penalties for those who do get caught are high:

    • German engineering giant Siemens made corporate history in 2008 when it paid US$1.6 billion to settle charges of bribery.
    • Recent banking fines have been even higher—$1.9 billion to HSBC, $2.6 billion to Credit Suisse, and a monumental $8.9 billion to BNP Paribas.
    • The actual cost is even higher: studies put the cost of reputational damage from ethics scandals at up to seven times the original fine in market value.

    Broken trust and lapsed values seriously impair brand value, employee recruitment and retention and customer loyalty for individual companies—what’s more the total burden of unethical business conduct on the economy as a whole is mindboggling. The B20 Anti-Corruption Working Group estimates that corruption consumes 3% of global GDP each year, costing more than US$2.6 trillion.

    CC image by Pictures of Money

    CC image by Pictures of Money

    Small wonder that ‘conduct risk’ is a red-hot topic for regulators: around the world, from the UK Bribery Act to China’s Article 164, standards and regulations are being developed and revised to combat unethical business practice more effectively.

    The upshot for business is that a race to the top is now on to foster good conduct by embedding effective ethics and compliance (E&C) frameworks that prevent, detect and respond to ethical violations. But companies can’t depend on the compliance system to do all the heavy lifting—no E&C programme alone can guarantee that everyone will always do the right thing. Indeed, without strong ethical culture, E&C initiatives will struggle to make a lasting impact unless they’re accompanied by values-driven behaviour change that’s aligned, integrated and reinforced at individual, organisational and systems levels.

    Proactive business leaders are cottoning on that reshaping business culture is the best way of preventing ethical dilemmas from becoming ethics lapses in the first place. Investing in integrity means shifting from a ‘don’t get caught’ to a ‘right thing to do’ mindset that can positively reinforce compliance, and boost trust and openness. When companies get this right—by promoting, supporting and celebrating personal and organisational integrity and empowering employees to ‘do the right thing’—conduct risk is reduced, reputation reinforced and the foundations are laid for long-term business success.

    In our next blog we’ll look at how you can make sure your culture delivers.

  • andrea 6:53 am on August 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , responsible business practices, sustainability   

    Ethics—Take it from the top 

    When it comes to corporate integrity, one of the most important foundations is getting the right tone from the top—yet it’s one of the things companies most often get wrong.

    OECD analysis shows that most international bribes are paid by large companies with senior management knowledge, while the US-based Ethics Resource Center’s 2013 National Business Ethics Survey found the majority of misconduct incidents involved supervisors and top management.

    Clearly there’s work to do.

    By far the best starting place is to look at how leaders act, making sure the company’s core values are clearly spelled out and that leaders’  words, thoughts and deeds align fully with these. This includes setting realistic business targets that won’t drive people to cut corners under pressure, celebrating good conduct, and making tough calls when it counts to show that zero tolerance means what it says on the tin.

    To see more key things boards, CEOs and managers can do to foster a strong culture of integrity and reinforce responsible business practices, download the free leadership chapter of our new book.



  • andrea 8:53 am on December 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: EP&L, fashion, Kering, , , sustainability,   

    The Kering Effect 

    Marie-Claire Daveu loves her job. The enthusiasm of Kering’s Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of International Institutional Affairs is palpable. And she has every reason to be happy: this year Kering made it onto the A-List of the Carbon Disclosure Project Climate Performance Leadership Index 2014 and was named industry leader of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) World and Europe, topping the Textiles, Apparel & Luxury Goods category. They must be doing something right.

    Stella McCartney's Autumn 2014 collection raises the bar for sustainable fashion

    Stella McCartney’s Autumn 2014 collection raises the bar for sustainable fashion

    The company’s rise to sustainability stardom has been rapid. While many sector leaders have consolidated their position over decades, Kering is a relative newcomer in the sustainability space. But it is fast emerging as a credible trendsetter others would do well to follow. But what exactly is Kering’s key to success?

    You can read our full article in the latest issue of Ethical Corporation here

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