York considers becoming first Good Business Charter city

Published Thursday, 17 June 2021

City of York Council’s Executive will be asked to approve plans for York to become the first ‘Good Business Charter’ city in the UK later this month (24 June).

The proposals form part of the council’s wider work with the business community, supporting small and micro businesses, and promoting the authority’s unique approach to economic development – ‘the York way’.

The Good Business Charter is an initiative of the charity Good Business Foundation, and aims to encourage businesses to adopt a holistic approach to their social, environmental and economic impacts.

Organisations signing up to the Charter agree to ten key commitments:

  1. Real Living Wage
  2. Fairer Hours and Contracts
  3. Employee Well-being
  4. Employee representation
  5. Diversity and inclusion
  6. Environmental responsibility
  7. Pay fair tax
  8. Commitment to customers
  9. Ethical sourcing
  10. Fair payment to suppliers

All are approached from an ethical stand point, with the businesses signing up to the charter expected to meet some minimum standards (for example on paying the real living wage, committing to reducing environmental impact, not engaging in tax avoidance, signing up to the Prompt Payment Code).

Working with the Foundation, the council is proposing to make York the first Good Business Charter city. This would involve the council signing up to the Charter, together with local partners. The University of York and Aviva are already accredited members. The Federation of Small Businesses is promoting the Charter, as are TUC, CBI and other business networks.

By becoming a signatory on the Charter, it’s hoped that it will help York to promote responsible business practices and provide a practical framework which enables York to Build Back Better.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said:

Supporting small and medium sized businesses has been a key focus of the council throughout the covid pandemic.

“As we continue to work together to support the city’s recovery, it’s important that we take the lead to continue to encourage businesses to adopt a holistic approach to their social, environmental and economic impacts.

“Working together, as the first Good Business Charter city, will help us to create a better, fairer and more sustainable future for the city.”

If proposals to sign the Charter are agreed, the council is proposing to include it as part of its emerging Economic Strategy and ten year plan, and there are opportunities to promote membership through the Business Leaders Group and the City Partnership Group.