It is delightful to see that the majority of people and businesses have risen to the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic and exercised responsibility, careful thought and innovation.

There is no doubt that we are heading into an economic recession where tangible values and good ethics will be more important than ever. Dealing fairly with our customers, suppliers and employees is so important. Values remain at the heart of governance and ensures a long and successful business. Even more so in times of hardship.

Many people are communicating to market their products or services. But cutting through this is a more successful message, being one of reputation and delivery.

The government in a Cabinet Paper sets out guidance and recommendations for contractual behaviour where impacted by the Covid-19 emergency. In summary, the Government is strongly encouraging all individuals, businesses (including funders) and public authorities to act responsibly and fairly in the national interest in performing and enforcing their contracts, to support the response to Covid-19 and to protect jobs and the economy.

This is not only in the national interest but is in the interest of every individual and company operating a business. Brand is so important. Losing reputation can have a disastrous adverse impact on the bottom line of the business. Creating a reputation is hard-won, but it can easily be lost.

NIBE Progress

NIBE is growing in the interest of everyone. We welcome as a new director Rachel Horton, The Culture Vulture.

I’m The Culture Vulture, a professional creative champion and cultural adventurer – lovely to digitally meet you! I’m a very proud Northerner who has built a business out of loving the Northern cultural scene which is a corker. Before setting up the Culture Vulture, I worked in a local authority for Libraries and Arts and I’ve also run a food business and worked in retail management.

As The Culture Vulture, I work across the creative, cultural, theatre and hospitality sectors and my business is all about shouting loud and proud about all the brilliant places, spaces, faces, events and projects across the region. I specialise in marketing, PR, audience development, social media, project management, event management and tour management.

I am well known across the region for championing the North East independent sector, small businesses, young people and creative freelancers, alongside my advocacy of intersectional feminism, LGBTQIA+ community and mental health. Social purpose, social justice and value-based decision making permeates all strands of my work.

I first got involved with NIBE when I was a student at Northumbria University studying on the Entrepreneurial Business Management degree as I was determined to be an ethically minded start- up from day one. I am delighted to join the board and excited to be a part of this chapter of NIBE’s work.

You can connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.

The other NIBE directors can be found here.

Supporting NIBE

As a not-for-profit organisation and with all directors being volunteers, funding our operation is essential. We rely very much on financial support, as well as help in kind. We have a very good base of supporters in the 100 Club and to whom we are very grateful for their ongoing support and encouragement. Find out more about the 100 club here.

Most importantly the University of Northumbria in Newcastle continues to give us marvellous support. For the second year they have funded the bulk of our operational costs. They have also been avid supporters of our activities from inception through the Business School. Now a Director of NIBE Professor Ron Beadle, Organization and Business Ethics, helps us identify new research and matters of interest which help with our events programme throughout the year.

Expanding NIBE

Our activities have resulted in a great deal of enthusiasm and activity in Tees Valley.

NIBE has been working to establish an ethical business network in the Tees Valley for the past year since Caroline Theobald’s appointment as an associate of Teesside University Business School. This is to deliver on NIBE’s intent that the entire north east region knows itself as a place where good business is done – in every respect. COVID 19 pushed the initiative over the line with the organisation of a high profile on-line networking event in partnership with the Tees Valley Business Club entitled ‘The Growing Commercial Case for Kindness’. The event catalysed three signatories to
NIBE’s £100 Club: Resolution PR; Tees Valley Business Club and Utilicom and the offer of business- led seminars to share best practice in ethical behaviour. The nominal fee to attend these events will be split between NIBE and Teesside Philanthropic.

Tools for Ethical Business

We are often asked, how do you build an ethical business? Over the summer, starting in June, Phil Jackman, a director of NIBE is delivering a series of interactive workshops to develop a set of tools to be able to test the ethical values of a company. Due to COVID-19 these are being held as online events. There will be 3 workshops, plus a final presentation event. The final session is planned for September 15 where the developed toolkit will be tested and this will be followed by a presentation on World Ethics Day on October 21 2020. Each workshop comprises 10 -20 attendees from existing ‘ethical’ businesses, businesses trying to be ethical, academics and NIBE.

Events

NIBE holds regular events, hosted by one of the NIBE stakeholder or partner organisations. These are opportunities to meet with other people interested and concerned with business ethics. Usually they are arranged at various locations throughout the North East, though they are currently held online.

Come along and join us at our next event, they are a great opportunity to network with like-minded people and is free to attend. We would be delighted to see you and promise a warm welcome. More details can be found on the website and you can always follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Kevan Carrick – Chairman NIBE