ORB believes that the best way to change the world is to look at the small-stuff.
You know, the ‘toothpick’ sized changes that each and every business could make that would not only improve the business but also help the communities, the employees and the customers and the planet.
Forget the large, grand gestures (well, okay, maybe don’t forget these entirely if you’re really up for doing something big!) and look to the minutiae, the quick wins and the simple improvements that don’t cost your business much to do, help you feel like you’re making good progress and which over time will add up to a big, big difference.
Because if every business was mindful like this, then we’d all be making a big, big difference to our world.
Here are just a few examples from the ORB Membership of how they ‘tweaked’ their businesses to be more responsible and ethical.
We hope that you get a little bit inspired by reading these and do something to improve your own business – and don’t forget if you want any help or guidance then ORB is here to do just that. Get in touch with us at email@example.com
In order to boost our reputation while inspiring others and building community, we have offered our office as a free venue for a networking event for local and ethical businesses. We approached a sustainable business network which runs events, offering them to use our space. They got a free venue without hassle, the other business people will get to network with each other in a green architect-designed building, and we get extra exposure through the event promotion. Tegan Tallullah, Marketing & Communications Officer, Koru Architects, www.koruarchitects.co.uk
I rang my local school with an offer to give a presentation on design innovation in business to their 6th form. This led to them running an entrepreneurship programme promoting my health business www.slimroast.ltd, promoting a client at www.passivpod.co.uk, and raising funds for my local charity www.beaconhubbrighton.org. Reciprocity works! Clive Bonny, Strategic Management Partners www.consult-smp.com
Offering to do some work for free (pro bono) isn’t just about feeling good or fulfilling an expectation that others may have of me, it also means that groups who would otherwise ‘miss out’ can get the support they need in a way that creates opportunities for me to build my CPD and profile in new markets and industries that I would otherwise struggle to engage. Adrian Ashton, www.adrianashton.co.uk
I’m trying to help single-parents have better access to health and fitness; I offer livestreaming fitness classes across the internet from our studio into people’s living rooms. I do classes at 6:15 pm and 9pm. The 9pm class is *MUCH* better attended for one reason – a lot of kids under the age of 12 will (theoretically!) be in bed by then and the parent can have a good workout. Also, if you suffer from insomnia getting yourself shattered from 9pm-10pm is a great way of getting to sleep! It also cuts down the carbon footprint. James Bond, Fitness & Health, www.operationmumsinmind.co.uk
We use a value-based payment model: To ensure The Green Chair offers value for money we have implemented a feedback based payment system. All the courses and coaching sessions that we offer have a related feedback form. If the overall feedback for the course is 5/5 then we will invoice you the full amount, but should it fall to 4/5 or 3/5 we will only invoice you for 4/5 or 3/5 of the invoice amount respectively. John Millar, Founder, The Green Chair, www.thegreenchair.co.uk
We decided years ago as commercial landlords to give control of the lease over to the tenant. We made the leases for all of our properties a three-year term, written within the conditions of the Landord and Tenant Act which means the tenant has a right to renew. Also, the tenant can leave at any time by giving us three months notice (to give us time to find a replacement). By gifting the decision to leave or stay, what has happened in practice is that tenants stay, and often grow with us. Thus, we get less vacant periods. Both sides benefit. Mike Jennings, Jennings, www.jennings.co.uk
Our top-tip is to train and invest and grow your own talent! We also work with disadvantaged children/ex-offenders via Working links etc and help them into full time work. Claire Thayers, www.LaceyThayersCIC.co.uk
In October, we gave up our High Street position. Quite possibly the scariest business move I’ve ever made. It meant we didn’t have the same overheads and therefore didn’t need the same turnover. We were able to drop our sales of mass produced soft toys (I’ve never met a kid who didn’t already have enough) and we could concentrate on our Teddy Hospital (mending) our vintage and collectable bear and doll sales (recycling) and our Rag Doll and Teddy Bear Kits which focus on using recycled fabrics (making) all of these fit in with our Circular Economy ethos. Rikey Austin, Alice’s Bear Shop, www.alicesbearshopuk.com
Aside from attempting to recycle as much as possible in my business, I’m careful about who I choose to by the bottled water that I offer to my clients. I buy from OneDifference water who fund water based projects in the world’s poorest communities. Aquaid Water Coolers are local to me and do similar work to One Difference. I also source my energy from Good Energy. Choosing ethical and responsible suppliers for my business is an easy and effective way of keeping my business ethical. Chris Ramis, www.ramis-hf.com.