Essex: ORB sets Responsible Business Standard

AN organisation created to help smaller firms demonstrate their commitment to responsible business practices has been launched in Essex.

Business leaders, academics and local councillors gathered at the Chelmsford campus of Anglia Ruskin University for the launch of the Organisation for Responsible Businesses (ORB).

The organisation has been established to set a national standard for responsible business practice and to accredit small and medium-sized firms which achieve it.

Besides leading smaller firms towards adopting more socially responsible practices, the Responsible Business Standard aims to help them compete more successfully against larger organisations for contracts.

The standard, validated by the ORB in collaboration with Dr Beatriz Acevedo, lecturer in sustainable management at Anglia Ruskin’s Lord Ashcroft International Business School, has been designed to be both affordable and attainable, with progressive levels and entry costs including professional auditing of less than �500.

Jill Poet, ORB managing director, said: “This isn’t just about being accountable and socially responsible. Many UK SMEs are already working hard towards best practice but don’t have anything tangible to demonstrate that.

“We developed the Responsible Business Standard because there wasn’t anything that is affordable, realistic and of value for the majority of SMEs for whom ISO accreditation can often involve too much time and too much money.

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“It can also be daunting for SMEs to go down the ISO route and yet the lack of appropriate certification has often meant businesses have been unable to obtain valuable contracts.”

The new standard is available at bronze, silver and gold levels. A certified consultant conducts the audit which covers a wide remit looking at everything from best practice and management systems to social and environmental compliance.