The current economic decline and political pressures are beginning to show stress in delivering outcomes.

It is now important for political and business leaders to ‘step up to the plate’ and by example show how we can meet and overcome these challenges.

The values of businesses are being examined more over the last few years than previously. Some businesses have grasped this and represented their values with clear and unequivocal statements relating to the UN guide of Environmental, Social and Governance (‘ESG’). More recently businesses have refocussed to adopt a sustainable output and set targets to achieve zero net carbon. 

There is a greater realisation that creating stability in a declining economy, as well as seeking growth and scaling up, requires a responsible approach to people management for retention and attraction of new people. In an economy of almost full employment, attracting young people is essential. Young people are becoming more discerning for whom they work and are seeking those businesses that have a clear and unambiguous ethical policy. Those savvy businesses have identified this and set out their stall to attract the bright young people with a clear and unequivocal set of values, as well as an attractive offer of apprenticeships.

I have a great deal of empathy for start-ups and small businesses in what will become a challenging time. More effort will be required to become successful and grow a viable business. This requires more attention to ethical values. For this reason, we at NIBE have developed an Ethical Business Toolkit to assist.

Whether a large or a small business the steps that can be taken are very simple:

  • Pay on time;
  • Have a fair and respectful policy toward staff; and
  • Work toward a sustainable output for the business.

Implementing simple steps overtime will improve the output of the business, by retaining and attracting staff and make it attractive to customers, who will take notice when procuring goods or services.

Kevan Carrick – Chair, North East Initiative on Business Ethics