We are entering into a new year after a turbulent and difficult time. This has been a stress test for us all. Sadly, there are examples in politics and business which raise concerns about ethical and responsible behaviour. But fortunately, there are many more examples of excellence in support and good neighbourliness.

What has encouraged me are the examples of the corporate businesses re-writing their values and setting out their Environmental, Social and Governance (‘ESG’) post COP 26 to set out their commitment of responsible business. It is particularly pleasing to see these values extended to include support for young people through declared apprenticeship programmes. This has developed through the drive of private business and not imposed by government. This voluntary approach is far healthier and more sustainable as result. It will also trickle down to encourage start-up and sme business to adopt similar values despite the pressures upon them with more limited resources available.

As a society we are grappling with change. The impact of Brexit, Covid, Carbon Reduction, and changing shopping habits on the High Street have a cost upon society and in some cases stress on those more exposed than others in having to come to terms with these changes.

At NIBE we have seen over the last 12 months good examples of people and businesses going that extra mile to act fairly. I am heartened that this will continue.

We wish all of our supporters and businesses Season Greetings and a very Happy and Ethical New Year.

Kevan Carrick, Chair, North East Initiative on Business Ethics

Image thanks to https://thehappynewyear2021.com/