Ethical Business Practices

UON recognises its responsibility to operate in an ethical and sustainable manner and take account of social, environmental and ethical considerations in all activities. In demonstration of this commitment, UON has signed up to the Good Business Charter, an accreditation scheme which organisations in the UK sign up to in recognition of responsible business practices and become a Living Wage Employer.

Living Wage Foundation logo

A black and white logo with the words Good Business Charter Accredited.

Purchasing and Investments

We are committed to taking a sustainable and ethical approach to our purchasing activity. The Environment & Sustainability Team works closely with UON Procurement Team providing criteria to be included within the tender process and provides the wider UON faculty and professional departments with guidance on consideration to be made on the environmental and sustainable impacts when making purchasing decisions.

The Good Business Charter measures our behaviour and performance across 10 component areas which holds us accountable to the commitments we have made:

  • Real Living Wage: requires all employers to pay directly employed staff and regularly contracted staff the real living wage as set out by the Living Wage Foundation.
  • Fairer Hours and Contracts: a fair approach to zero hours contracts, including fair shift scheduling and cancellation policies, and proper consideration given to contracts with guaranteed hours.
  • Employee Well-Being: requires clear, fair and transparent policies that support and encourage employee well-being and remove unreasonable penalties for legitimate sickness.
  • Employee Representation: requires all employers to engage with worker representatives and to ensure there is a voice that represents employees around the boardroom table.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: requires businesses to evidence how they monitor the diversity of their workplace and their commitment to close the gender, disability and ethnicity pay gaps.
  • Environmental Responsibility: requires businesses to commit to an environmental policy to demonstrate they are committed to reducing their environmental impact and continually improving their environmental performance.
  • Pay Fair Tax: requires businesses to commit to paying their taxes, not to engage in tax avoidance and commit to be transparent in their relationship with HMRC.
  • Commitment to Customers: The Good Business Charter requires businesses to publish their commitment to their customers on their website. Businesses will be expected to gather and monitor customer feedback and report on the results to their board.
  • Ethical Sourcing: requires businesses to commit to the standards set out in the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code for sourcing through a process of continuous due diligence.
  • Prompt Payment to Suppliers: As required by the GBC UON signed up to the government’s Prompt Payment Code in July 2022.
  • Our Centre for Sustainable Business Practices established in 2016 works with business throughout Northamptonshire and the East Midlands to understand what ethical and sustainable business practices are, exchange knowledge and idea and creates a platform for research activity across the University.

As outlined in our Responsible Investment Policy, UON does not directly invest in fossil fuel extraction or exploitation. We are committed to following the standards outlined in the Ethical Trade Base Code which are relevant to our organisation.

In January 2021, the University Management Team agreed and signed off the update of the university’s Responsible Investment Policy to reflect our decision to support the Student Union Fossil Free campaign to divest from fossil fuels supports.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Through our Living Wage Foundation accreditation, we are supporting the following SDGs:

Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.

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