Busy, busy, busy
The summer of 2017 was the busiest yet here at the Fair Tax Mark.
Not only did we announce four new Fair Tax Mark certifications in the shape of The Eighth Day, Achilles Accounting, PIRC and Dulas; but, we progressed a host of re-certifications, including the Co-operative Group, Unicorn Grocery, Scotmid, Staffline, Marshalls, Radstock and Unlimited Potential. It’s a source of great pride to us that every business that has secured Fair Tax Mark accreditation has returned and pursued re-certification afresh the following year. Which goes some way to explaining why we are seeing so much interest in the establishment of Fair Tax Mark schemes in a number of other countries.
SSE to encourage business customers to consider Fair Tax Mark
In September, the FTSE-listed energy company SSE plc launched a radical new initiative in support of the Mark. SSE have been Fair Tax Mark certified since 2014, but now want to encourage their business customers (of which there is an enormous 500,000) to consider the benefits of certification via their Better Business Programme. They have built a Fair Tax Mark Assessment Tool into their Business Energy website to enable customers to quickly and easily find out how to gain the Mark, and are generously offering to cover 50% of the costs of the first small business customers (turnover of £1million and less) that pursue assessment and accreditation. We are really excited about the potential of this programme to spread the Fair Tax word, with further details of this innovative new programme here.
And in other news
July saw the launch of Buy Smart, an initiative to encourage ethical consumers to come together and use their purchasing power to drive change. Buy Smart takes account of Fair Tax Mark certification, and it was great to see companies such as Richer Sounds, Lush, Phone Coop and Revolver World listed as a result. In August, a resurgent Co-operative Group put the Mark front and centre in their latest Sustainability Report, and we’ve been in the media commenting on everything from intra-group loan abuses in Jersey through to the questions raised by Amazon’s incredibly low (given its sales) current account charge in the UK.
The summer may have been busy, but the coming months are looking to be even more significant. In October we will release an analysis of the Tax Strategies of the FTSE’s fifty largest businesses, where progress is slow to emerge, poorly executed, but there are some examples of excellence emerging. In November, we’ll launch our third Fair Tax Mark standard (to accompany our ‘UK-only’ and ‘Multinational’ standards), which will focus on small and microbusiness with a turnover of £1million and less. And there will be even more new certifications to announce.
As the new Chief Executive of the Fair Tax Mark, it would be remiss of me not to thank the outgoing Emily Kenway for all her hard work over the past eighteen months. Emily has both grown the Fair Tax Mark and diversified our funding, programmes and services. She has left us in good health and everyone here wishes her the very best in her next venture with the Anti Slavery Commission.
I’m really looking forward to taking the Fair Tax Mark onward and upward. Because: tax matters. It helps to fund vital public goods and services and when paid fairly it ensures a level playing field for businesses, whether large or small.
Paul Monaghan, Chief Executive, Fair Tax Mark