What’s changed in the Business Working Responsibly mark?
More user friendly
A major focus of this version is to further improve the ease of use for organisations new to the Mark and those that have achieved it previously. For example, the National Adult Literacy Agency has helped us make the language clearer and have reduced the number of overall sections in the Mark and the total number of questions. The number of questions has fallen by about 13.5 percent.
For organisations that have achieved the Mark before, the questionnaire is now pre-populated with previous answers where that question still exists. Obviously users still have to update their old answers but users are already saying it’s a big help.
Guidance along the way
We have built guidelines into the questionnaire too—little explainers that help users to understand the background to the question or how they should shape their answer.
In keeping with best practice we have also updated the topics that the Mark asks about. We want to ensure that the Mark remains closely aligned to ISO26000, the guidance standard for social responsibility which gives the Mark international relevance.
Lastly we have included a new question in most sections which asks companies to explain what they focus on and why. Previously we provided a more prescribed list of actions which companies selected from. Our new approach gives companies more flexibility to explain how they conduct responsible and sustainable business based on their organisation’s particular challenges and this is an approach you will also typically see in world-leading management standards.
Why it is better?
From the point of view of organisations getting certified there are two main dimensions. It is more user-friendly while at the same time, the Mark continues to ask the important questions, helping companies to align their processes with addressing sustainability challenges that are not just applicable in Ireland but around the world
What are the key dates to start the process to receive the certification at the CEO Breakfast Forum?
The sooner the better if a company wants to be in time for the Autumn CEO Forum. However an organisation can be certified at any time and in that case, we will include them in the next CEO Forum to celebrate their achievement. We have two such Forums a year, one in May and the other in October or November.
To explain the process, there are two steps to getting certified. One is to complete the questionnaire referenced above: the other is to pass a verification audit by the National Standards Authority of Ireland. For the first part, we can consider applications until mid-June for certification in time for this November. That gives us time to review the responses and to arrange and conduct audit in time for November.