Posted by on 01/09/2017

This was a piece we wrote to stimulate discussion on what is responsible business practice. We believe good businesses take full ownership and responsibility for all of their actions. We call these companies responsible businesses and believe that they have certain key values, traits and characteristics.

We believe that responsible businesses do:

  • care about people and the planet. Innovation, value creation and making a profit are not excuses to compromise on caring
  • believe in something. They are authentic, built on hope and the belief that a better, more equal society is possible for all humankind. This philosophy replaces profit as their clear and authentic core purpose
  • operate with integrity in an honest, open and transparent manner, avoiding tokenism, excuses and bullshit jobs
  • strive to have a positive influence on others, including their suppliers and customers and other businesses
  • view responsibility as more than just a name, a tag, a meaningless statement or a report. They recognize it as a vocation, a lifelong commitment to continually strive to do the right thing
  • collaborate and share their knowledge and expertise and learning to help others to improve their responsible business practices and sustainability behaviours
  • seek out interdependent relationships and are open to learning from others
  • challenge the status quo of over consumption and rising inequality. This includes standing up to dishonest global governance systems. And working to proactively address out-dated education systems
  • ensure their employees and supply chain have a fair wage and access to an affordable health, education and pension schemes
  • promote fairness and equality for employees and in all other relationships
  • ensure employees and supply chain have healthy working conditions, e.g. air quality, lighting, ergonomic workstations, etc.
  • facilitate a fair distribution of the wealth created with their staff and supply chain, as well as reinvesting it in the community, and natural environment. Shareholder and investor relationships take this into account
  • recognize that businesses have an impact on the natural environment. They strive to minimise the harm through taking a whole systems perspective
  • proactively apply good practice approaches and principles such as the circular economy, performance economy, blue economy, sustainable design, etc. as part of their core business model
  • believe in the value and need for good design from quality and function through to beauty and timelessness and harmony with nature
  • use good practice tools such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), life cycle true costing, etc. to ensure they are focusing their efforts in the right places


We believe that responsible businesses do not:

  • develop goods and services that are detrimental to the well-being of society
  • innovate irresponsibly or apply innovations in an irresponsible manner
  • greenwash and use the tag responsible to impress and ‘tick the box’
  • pursue profit at all costs
  • view responsibility as a bolt on, a trend, or another potential competitive advantage
  • view being responsible as the activity for a niche social business
  • treat people as disposable commodities
  • employ child labour (directly or indirectly)
  • recklessly destruct the planet through needlessly destroying natural habits, polluting and producing non-recyclable waste
  • use any one approach, in isolation, without taking a holistic perspective




Acknowledgement: The image was taken by Frank at a graffiti exhibition close to Birnbeck Pier, Weston-super-Mare. We think the exhibition was commissioned as part of an ongoing campaign to save this historic and beautiful pier. See for more details.




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