Business ethics policy
We believe in being a responsible business.
This policy outlines how our values shape our business and our commitment to working in a way that’s ethical and fair. It guides us when making decisions and helps us conduct our business with honesty and integrity.
This policy was last reviewed on 20 May 2022.
We believe that good business and ethics go hand in hand. From our very beginnings, using tech for good has always been at the heart of our work. Working ethically has become a driving force for our business, and we work hard to act with moral and ethical integrity in everything we do. One of our main commitments to this has been made in adopting the responsible business principles developed by Blueprint for Better Business, which form part of the company’s Articles of Association.
We’ve always enjoyed developing positive working relationships with our clients built on transparency and good communication. We’re proud to say that many of our earliest clients remain friends of ours to this day. Our clients trust us, and we them.
For nearly two decades we’ve been working in digital accessibility, helping create a digital world that’s accessible to disabled people. We embrace diversity, equality and inclusion in our work to the best of our ability.
We have made commitments to:
- Be mindful of how our work effects people and society
- Be responsible for our actions and their impact
- Work with transparency and integrity – no hard sell or hidden costs, no dodgy deals – just clarity and honesty
Scope and domain
The majority of our work is done within the United Kingdom, although we have some clients based in Europe and the United States of America.
Wherever possible, we aim to use UK-based digital service providers. However, some of our service providers operate and host their services outside of the UK.
We enjoy building long-lasting relationships with our clients, so we work hard to be honest and fair, and we like to work with customers who share our values.
In 2019, we introduced some rules to follow when engaging new clients to help us work with more organisations that are a good fit for our values and avoid working with companies that we find to be unethical or having a negative impact on the world (negative screening).
From 2021, we made a move to focus the majority of our efforts on working with organisations that have a positive impact on the world (positive screening), or choosing to work with companies that have a good record for sustainability and ethics.
We will not knowingly work with organisations engaging in contentious activities or working in unethical sectors. This means that we assess potential clients for any concerns around environmental damage, human rights, workers’ rights, fossil fuels, gambling, human trafficking, promoting hate, sexual exploitation, tobacco, weapons, etc.
Working with honesty, respect and integrity is one of our core values, so we believe in being authentic in our marketing and transparent about what we do and how we work. That’s why we’ve made a pledge to make The Ethical Move in our marketing.
We build relationships with customers based on trust and integrity, so we believe in honest marketing – no hard sell or hidden costs, no dodgy deals. We don’t use online advertising, preferring to reach new customers through positive PR, networking and organic referrals.
Our ethical marketing principles:
- no hard sell – we put people before the sale
- no spam – we don’t send unsolicited marketing emails
- no hidden costs or dodgy deals – honest, clear pricing
- no buying your custom – we don’t buy marketing lists or use online advertising
We care about our suppliers. We choose them carefully, and treat them in the way we like to be treated – with honesty and fairness.
We do this in the following ways:
- We generally pay invoices when we receive them. We are signed up to the Prompt Payment Code, a voluntary code of practice for businesses, which is administered by the Office of the Small Business Commissioner on behalf of BEIS. When it’s not possible to pay an invoice immediately, we pay all undisputed and valid invoices from SMEs within 14 days of receipt, and all invoices are paid within 30 days of receipt, unless otherwise stated in our supplier contract.
- We aim to purchase goods and services that behave ethically and have positive social and environmental impact. And we’re not afraid to take our business elsewhere. In 2021, we switched insurance provider due to our existing supplier’s poor treatment of small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- We work with local independent organisations where possible.
Contracts with suppliers are established on a case-by-case basis. Suppliers are assessed for their alignment to our values, and are asked to consider the following when supplying us with goods and services:
- Having policies on business ethics and sustainability
- Paying a living wage
- Not undertaking any work using slavery, forced labour, or child labour
- Not undertaking any discriminatory employment practices, including those relating to recruitment, promotion, training, remuneration and benefits
- Avoiding involvement in illegal, immoral or otherwise contentious activities or unethical sectors such as fossil fuels, gambling, human trafficking, tobacco, weapons, etc.
- Minimising negative impact on the environment
We value transparency in our clients and suppliers, not least when it comes to finance. The gap between us and where our money goes is wide, and that makes us uncomfortable. For example, the world is facing a climate emergency, yet trillions of pounds are still being pumped into the companies fuelling the crisis.
We commit to using our money for good, and have taken the following actions:
- In 2019, we moved our bank accounts away from the big banks to those with more ethical and sustainable conduct.
- In 2020, we moved our pensions into ethical funds.
- In 2022, we made a commitment to no longer work with the big banks that continue to invest billions in energy systems that destroy our planet.
We will never donate to a political party or politician. Workers are not discouraged from having political opinion or discussion, and they are free to support a chosen political party as individuals.
Bribery and corruption
We have a zero-tolerance policy towards bribery and corruption. We are committed to acting fairly and with integrity in all of our business dealings and relationships.
We reduce the risk of bribery and corruption by taking precautions with sensitive data and keeping appropriate and accurate records of all dealings with third parties. We take data protection seriously, encrypting sensitive data and restricting access to information to only those who need it to provide our services.
We will not:
- Offer, promise or give a financial or other advantage to another person (i.e. bribe a person) whether within the UK or abroad, with the intention of inducing or rewarding
- Request, agree to receive or accept a financial or other advantage (i.e. receive a bribe) for or in relation to improper conduct.
- Bribe a foreign public official.
We do not accept any type of gift (including free goods or services) or offer of hospitality that may entail an act of bribery, corruption or some other conflict of interest. Generally, any gift must be given for an appropriate reason and at an appropriate time.
We aim to provide a work environment that:
- Treats all workers equally and with dignity and respect
- Provides opportunities for personal development
- Attracts a diverse range of workers, representing all walks of life
We are committed to combatting slavery and human trafficking in its business and supply chains.
As our business has a turnover of less than £36 million, we do not have a legal obligation to produce a modern slavery statement. However:
- We agree that exploitation within all supply chains to the UK is unacceptable, and we are committed to playing our part in eliminating exploitation
- We understand that customers with obligations under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 cannot comply with those duties without our cooperation
We have examined our business activities and those of our suppliers and we confirm the following:
- Within our own business, no relevant offence relating to slavery or human tracking has been committed
- We have made enquiries of businesses that supply directly to us and we are confident that no relevant offence is committed in that business
- To a reasonably practicable extent, we have examined our supply chains and have found no evidence of slavery or human trafficking