Becoming a National Responsible Business Champion…

What does it mean and why do we care?

Can you imagine what the world would like if more organisations considered the impact their business decisions had on employees, customers, community, environment and its shareholders?

On the 13th of July 2022, Shoplight Ltd were awarded the prestigious SME National Responsible Business Champion Award 2022 from the All-Party Parliamentary Corporate Responsibility Group.

Every year MP’s from all sides are encouraged to nominate a company from their constituency for these awards and Paul Bristow, MP for Peterborough nominated Shoplight.

We first met Paul Bristow when we lobbied him about the Better Business Act, a coalition for a cleaner, greener, fairer future for all. To our surprise Paul Bristow came in to see us, then, months later, he contacted us to tell us he wanted to nominate us.

I guess our passion for being a force for good and transforming the way Britain does business stuck in his mind!

It’s a sign that we are on the right track when we can confidently put a tick against each of the criteria the judging panel look for in winning companies.

  • Engage with stakeholders to support the local community
  • Invest in healthy workplaces
  • Offer training
  • Promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace
  • Work to reduce their environmental impact
  • Work with suppliers and SMEs to support responsible business practice

By law and as a default in this country, when a business is formed it has a legal and fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders, that’s all.

But what about employees? Customers? Local community? The environment?

Many of the high-profile business decisions that disgust and anger members of the public are those that consider profit only, without thought for the impact their business has on the wider community.

"We have recently changed our Articles of Association bringing into the company’s own rules the requirement to consider employees, customers, local community, the planet and profit when making decisions. This was highlighted as a significant step for an SME of Shoplight’s size."

Our business decisions are not solely driven by profit but rather the impact we have on the wider community – mainly people and planet.

We also have a ‘Responsible Business Principles’ document that we ask all our major suppliers to review and sign each year. We hope this helps them understand the standards we expect.

We have medical insurance which includes mental health and physiotherapy services, a training scheme which includes funding for courses not necessarily linked to the persons job role, as well as our profit sharing bonuses and emergency loan scheme.

When presenting the award, Jonathon Djanogly MP highlighted the

  • Diversity of ethnicity, gender and age within Shoplight
  • Our employee welfare benefits
  • The community and charitable work we do through paid volunteering days for all staff members as well as our charity fund match programme

But why does it matter to us?

It’s been 8 years since we founded Shoplight and winning this award is one of our proudest moments. It reinforces why our strong values and social responsibilities matter to the people who come in to contact with our business. We delight in being a force for good and this culture comes from its leadership team.

Mark Shortland, MD for Shoplight says,

“It’s highly important to Mel and I that we are a positive influence on the lives of the people we come in to contact with. We have this approach in our day to day lives but we can have the most impact through our work. Ensuring Shoplight is a force for good is a significant way in which we can make sure that, no matter what else is going on in people’s lives, Shoplight is a positive influence.  We believe that all businesses should be a force for good and that we have an important role to play in the wellbeing of our staff and our local community. We take this responsibility seriously and have worked hard to ensure we can support our team and those around us by implementing a plethora of initiatives that make people’s lives better.”

The culture runs through our people too.

  • “That is awesome! I feel genuinely privileged to work with you all,” Eoin Carroll
  •  “How fantastic! Well deserved with all you have both created here” Becky Nicholson
  •  “Wow this is amazing news guys, so proud to be a part of the Shoplight fam!” Sam Adams

These are some of the celebratory comments that were shared when the news came through on our team WhatsApp Group.

We’re not done yet. We are always looking at how to improve and how to really be a force for good. Can you imagine what the world would like if more organisations ran their business with this approach?


Becoming B-Corp accredited

B-Corp is the manifestation of all of this. It allows us to show the world what we stand for and why it matters. Stand by for official updates about our B-Corporation accreditation…


The Better Business Act

If you’ve found this article insightful and started to think about how your organisation could do more for all its stakeholders, then a great place to start is signing up to the Better Business Act which you can do here.