York has become the first city in the UK to sign up to the Good Business Charter – a pioneering initiative that puts fairness, representation, diversity and a shared commitment to our environmental responsibilities at the heart of our economic strategy.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, City of York Council has had a clear focus on working closely with the business community, supporting small and micro businesses, and promoting our unique approach to economic development – the ‘York Way’.
Recently, an independent evaluation of the council’s £1.14 million micro-grant scheme revealed that, since its introduction in March 2020, 294 local businesses were saved from closure, and more than 500 families and employees from falling into personal and financial hardship.
The Good Business Charter, developed in partnership with the Confederation of British Industry, Trades Union Congress and Federation of Small Businesses, and spearheaded by entrepreneur Julian Richer, seeks to promote responsible business behaviour through 10 key components: real living wage; fairer hours and contracts; employee wellbeing; employee representation; diversity and inclusion; environmental responsibility; pay fair tax; commitment to customers; ethical sourcing; and fair payment to suppliers.
As a historic city, with a Liberal Democrat-led council, we are rightly proud of our vibrant culture and heritage, but we also want to lead the way to deliver fair conditions and pay, as well as support businesses that put sustainability at their core.
Some of the city’s most prominent employers have already joined us in signing up to the initiative, including the University of York, Aviva, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Local authorities are in a great position to take the lead to encourage businesses to adopt a holistic approach to their social, environmental and economic impacts.