By Claire West

Operating a responsible business is not only good for the environment and the community, but it does wonders for business performance and profitability — and now companies can have the certification to prove it.

The Responsible Business Standard has been developed by the Organisation for Responsible Businesses (ORB) to recognise the responsible business efforts of small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and the increasing need to evidence sustainability.

Many organisations, particularly at local authority level, now insist that their suppliers have specific credentials, often relating to the environment and responsible business practice. Without accreditation to prove they adhere to necessary standards, SMEs may struggle to secure contracts.

The Responsible Business Standard is affordable, attainable and of value. In many cases, it simply acknowledges the practices that most SMEs already have in place. Jill Poet, Managing Director of ORB, explains: “Particularly since the recession, many business owners have been forced to review the sustainability criteria of their business in a bid to reduce costs and their impact on the environment. If SMEs are taking the right actions as a responsible business, simply having the certification to prove this could give them a significant commercial advantage.”

The Responsible Business Standard is available at three progressive levels: bronze, silver and gold. A Certified ORB Consultant conducts the audit which covers a wide remit, looking at everything from workplace management and business transparency to social and environmental compliance. Jill adds, “Businesses working towards the Responsible Business Standard have seen substantial improvements in staff morale, productivity and, consequently, turn over.”

As a nationally recognised accreditation, the Standard provides the evidence that gives SMEs a significant commercial advantage. Not only does The Responsible Business Standard enhance their reputation, it allows any size business to thrive in what has become a very competitive market.

For further information on The Responsible Business Standard, visit www.responsiblebusinessstandard.org.uk or telephone 0845 4599749