FAQs - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If your particular question is not here, or it isn't answered satisfactorily, please contact us.

1. What is Responsible 100?

Responsible 100 is a tool to enable any business to balance its own economic interests with the interests of nature, society and a fair, livable, sustainable future. It is a tool to enable companies to operate as responsibly as they possibly can, bespoke to their own particular needs and circumstances.

And Responsible 100 is also a movement and a campaign founded on core beliefs about how business should be, and indeed can be. It is for anyone who as a consumer, employee or investor wishes to identify and support businesses demonstrably operating as responsibly as they can. Together, we can create the critical incentives and rewards for other businesses to adopt openness, honesty and accountability as drivers of profitability.

2. Why does Responsible 100 exist?

Responsible 100 is exists to enable businesses - and the consumers, employees and investors who support them - to respond in credible, meaningful, adequate ways to the various, interlinked existential crises, and the social and environmental challenges, the world currently faces.
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(This cartoon was originally drawn in March 2020 with just the first two waves, crashing on Graeme Mackay's native Canada. It was redrawn in the following months with the additional waves added, and reprinted around the world. This unique version was recaptioned by the artist in February 2022 especially for Responsible 100. Read more about this image here.)

3. What is new about Responsible 100 in 2022?

This new version of Responsible 100 has been in development since March 2020. It is one designed to enable businesses to transform radically, as the various existential crises we face demand, and to grow to large numbers of business participants within a short time frame.

This current version of Responsible 100 combines our unique and well tested approach to benchmarking responsible business practices, along with the prioritisation of various social and environmental challenges, and with the collection and sharing of responsibility data across a network.

Responsible 100 is designed to enable any business to increase its positive impacts on people and planet, and decrease its negative impacts, at the optimal rate, while serving its core function of delivering its goods and services at the right price and quality. Further, it is designed to make this the profit-maximising way for any business to operate.

Still in co-development with our founding businesses and partners, it consists of four key constituent parts which are currently being further tested and developed as they are combined together: (1) the core proposition (i.e. the various steps participants undertake, their inputs and outputs), (2) the underlying business model, (3) the brand, and (4) the strategy for growth.

4. Is there a badge or certification?

Responsible 100 businesses may display up to four different versions of our badge to indicate their participation.

They will be permitted to display the badge on their websites, packaging, email signatures and other such marketing materials. 

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5. Which organisations do you work with?

Over the last several years, Responsible 100 has developed a collaborative approach to responsibility working with over 600 businesses and civil society organisations of all shapes and sizes, including scores of the world's largest corporations. A selection of these organisations are revealed on the History page on this website.

Radical Responsible 100 has been developed with a modest number of organisations, both businesses and delivery partners. We're currently recruiting more user-tester-founder businesses and subject matter partners. Please join us.

6. Which responsibility issues do you explore?

Responsible 100 currently explores 20 separate issues across 8 broad categories as follows:

Community
Local Communities
Causes & Campaigns

Environment
Carbon Footprint
Reducing Waste

Ethical Choices
Reducing Inequality
Lobbying & Influence

Finance & Governance
Organisational Culture
Executive Pay
Effective Governance

Human Rights
Modern Slavery
Rights Of Indigenous Peoples
Trading With Oppressive Regimes

Marketplace Ethics
Customer Complaints & Redress
Product & Service Information
Responsible Advertising

Technology
Cyber Security
Responsible Technology

Workforce
Employee Mental Health & Wellbeing
Workplace Diversity
Living Wage

7. What do you mean by the RACE TO THE BOTTOM?

We use the terms RACE TO THE BOTTOM and BUSINESS AS USUAL from time to time.

They are similar, but the RACE TO THE BOTTOM is a feature or subset of BUSINESS AS USUAL, certainly in how we think of these things.

In the RACE TO THE BOTTOM, businesses are competing on the wrong things.

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They compete through actions such as, for example, aggressively avoiding paying tax, polluting and offloading a myriad of other externalities on nature, paying the lowest wages possible, heaping all sorts of other stresses onto employees, bullying suppliers, selling poor quality goods and services, not providing adequate means of redress, etc, etc, etc.

And while it be customary and (more or less) legal to compete in these ways, to compete in terms of how much you can get away with, and this may lead to higher financial profit or additional market share in the short term, these behaviours are detrimental to society and nature.

Too many businesses compete in the RACE TO THE BOTTOM. Too many businesses compete on how much more money they can make, or market share they can steal, by offloading costs and exploiting people. And too many of us as consumers, employees and investors support them in doing so by not switching our patronage to more responsible, ethical companies. Responsible 100's aim is to make that switching easier and higher impact. 

8. What do you mean by BUSINESS AS USUAL?

In the RACE TO THE BOTTOM it is customary and normal to make private profit by exploiting stakeholders and offloading costs onto society and the environment. But BUSINESS AS USUAL is the full tragedy because this is the confluence of absurdities that keep us trapped in the RACE TO THE BOTTOM.

BUSINESS AS USUAL is pretending or deluding ourselves that somehow we've got this when the reality is we remain on an extinction trajectory. It is the apparent consensus that our current system of global capitalism is the best we've got and the best we can hope for. It is the product of our prevailing economic and political systems, cultural conditioning and human frailty.

Our BUSINESS AS USUAL combines mind boggling concentrations of wealth and power, extreme and ever widening inequality, social and traditional media failing to serve the public interest, fear and divisiveness being seeded and spread at lightning speed, the capture of governmental and public policy making functions, widespread corruption, uneven playing fields, wealth pouring upwards rather than trickling down, biodiversity and climate crises expanding and deepening at increasing rates, children fearing they won't live to old age, businesses hardwired to compete to the death in a RACE TO THE BOTTOM, and a collective and self-fulfilling resignation that this is simply how the world 'works'.

BUSINESS AS USUAL is the biggest existential crisis we face as it prevents progress on all the others, e.g. climate, biodiversity, poverty, inequality, human rights abuse, mental health pandemic, etc.

Efforts to be more responsible or sustainable that are indistinguishable from the greenwash and the misdirection that sustain BUSINESS AS USUAL will almost certainly perpetuate it.

9. Why does BUSINESS AS USUAL persist?

1. RELENTLESS COMPETITION
Businesses face relentless pressures. They operate in highly competitive, fast-moving markets in an ever-changing world.

2. UNLIMITED COMPLEX CHALLENGES
Responsibility challenges are many and often complex, uncertain and ambiguous, they are difficult to address, let alone solve. Their commercial impact in the short term is very difficult to gauge.

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3. RESOURCE CONSTRAINTS
Available resources to address scores of critical environmental, social and governance (ESG) challenges are invariably limited and frequently misallocated.

4. ISSUES SELECTION
Almost exclusively, it is those problems that appear simpler or cheaper to respond to or attempt to fix which are those that get tackled.

5. GREENWASH vs HONESTY
As a result of 1-4, huge numbers of businesses are tackling just a handful of the less significant responsibility challenges they face with inadequate resources. This alone is very unfortunate. Tragically, many then give in to the significant temptations to offer up the outputs as evidence that they take business responsibility and sustainability very seriously. That is, they then start greenwashing.

6. PUBLIC ATTITUDES
In a world drowning in greenwash, individuals have no agency. They do not believe they ever will. They become resigned to this BUSINESS AS USUAL and hold no hope of escaping from it. People become cynical and distrusting of all businesses, especially when they talk about being responsible, which only reinforces these problems. 

7. DIFFERENTIATING BUSINESSES
People believe that all businesses are equally irresponsible and disconnected from reality. It is a commonly held view that none of us can buy from, work for or invest in truly responsible businesses - because none (appear to) exist.

8. THINGS THAT GET INCENTIVISED / REWARDED
Genuine efforts to be as responsible as possible are indistinguishable from greenwash. Rewards and incentives for seeking to be genuinely responsible are extremely weak if they do exist at all.

9. COMPETING IN THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM
All the wrong incentives remain. All businesses are conscious that less scrupulous competitors will continue to further offload costs onto society and the environment, and exploit vulnerable stakeholders, while greenwashing some counternarrative, if doing so may increase their market share.

>>> 1. BACK TO THE RELENTLESS COMPETITION
Businesses face relentless pressures operating in highly competitive, fast-moving markets in an ever-changing world... Where competing in the RACE TO THE BOTTOM and propping up our failing BUSINESS AS USUAL is profit-maximising.

10. What is the RACE TO THE TOP?

The RACE TO THE TOP is where businesses compete on the price and quality of their goods and services, as they do now, but also on the basis of how much more positively, and how much less negatively, they can impact people and planet in the process. Is it a much better competition to be in, for the businesses and everyone else.

Businesses get to be problem-solving, innovative, creative and often ingenious, still, but also to apply their smarts to improving society, and mitigating and remediating any negative impacts on nature, through the mix of products and services they bring to market, and in their operations and value chains in the course of doing that. Creating and competing in the RACE TO THE TOP requires only modest tweaks to how we live and work, see below. 

There is no change to #1 or #2:

1. RELENTLESS COMPETITION
Businesses face relentless pressures. They operate in highly competitive, fast-moving markets in an ever-changing world.

2. UNLIMITED COMPLEX CHALLENGES
Responsibility challenges are many and often complex, uncertain and ambiguous, they are difficult to address, let alone solve. Their commercial impact in the short term is very difficult to gauge.

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There are alternatives to #3 through to #9, and Responsible 100 aims to positively contribute to each:

3. RESOURCE CONSTRAINTS
As and where genuinely responsible behaviours are shown to improve financial performance, and where the risks of continued irresponsibility or inaction mount, available resources to address critical social and environmental challenges can be expected to increase and be better allocated.

4. ISSUES SELECTION
When even the thorniest problems can be broken down and properly evaluated, then all critical issues can be considered and evaluated properly. That is in terms of e.g. their urgency, the potential for the business to effect significant change, the potential costs versus benefits of improving on an issue, and of not attempting to do so, and other key variables.

5. GREENWASH vs HONESTY
It won't take a great many first-mover businesses to demonstrate the power and value of being open, honest and accountable. When a certain number of businesses can satisfy themselves, and others, that they are improving their policies and practices at the optimum rate, then they will open up to more and more stakeholders and prove it. Honest, open companies cannot be confused with those which continue to greenwash.

6. PUBLIC ATTITUDES
When people have real choices, they have power and agency. They are heartened and inspired by those businesses seeking to deliver products and services at the right price and quality, and make the world a better place too. People foresee the end to the RACE TO THE BOTTOM and they believe in the RACE TO THE TOP and their role - or various roles - in the transition.

7. DIFFERENTIATING BUSINESSES
Good businesses *are* distinguishable from the irresponsible and those disconnected from reality; we can then buy from, work for and invest in truly responsible businesses, because they really *do* exist.

8. THINGS THAT GET INCENTIVISED / REWARDED
Genuine efforts to be as responsible as possible *are* distinguishable from greenwash. Rewards and incentives for seeking to be genuinely responsible *do* now exist.

9. COMPETING IN THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM
Firms that offload costs onto society and the environment, and exploit vulnerable stakeholders are identifiable, and thus avoidable, and thus risk eroding their market share.

>>> 1. BACK TO THE RELENTLESS COMPETITION
Businesses face relentless pressures operating in highly competitive, fast-moving markets in an ever-changing world... Where competing in the RACE TO THE TOP is profit-maximising.

11. What is Responsible 100’s theory of change?

Responsible 100 is built on certain experiences and observations about business and systems, and predictions as to their future direction, which combine into something of a theory of change. 

++   Critical numbers of businesses, and the people who work in them, consider BUSINESS AS USUAL offensive, unacceptable and intolerable, and are now willing and able to take steps to depart from it.

++   They subscribe to the alternative and the solution to BUSINESS AS USUAL, that is a RACE TO THE TOP, where businesses compete on the price and quality of their goods and services, as they do now, but also on the basis of how much more positively (and less negatively) they can impact people, planet and future generations.

++   Almost any company can dial down its participation in BUSINESS AS USUAL and dial up its participation in the RACE TO THE TOP, without delay, and move further and faster from one to the other with help, support, recognition and reward.

++   Growing numbers of consumers, employees and investors are ready to play their parts by buying from, working for and investing in businesses that compete in the RACE TO THE TOP, thus creating critical rewards and incentives.

++   Sufficient numbers of businesses are prepared to be client user-testers of this new version of Responsible 100 and pay to use its management tools and processes while also helping to improve them, and while shaping and participating in Responsible 100 as a campaign and movement too.

++   These businesses - and their supporting stakeholders - will gladly compete in the RACE TO THE TOP. These companies, through their actions, and through repeatedly redefining what is possible, will raise expectations on all other businesses and change prevailing norms. RACE TO THE TOP businesses will raise the floor in terms of minimum standards of behaviour which must be demonstrated by any company seeking to gain or maintain public licence to operate. They'll also raise the floor in terms of demonstrating ever deeper commitments to transparency and accountability. And they'll raise the bar in terms of imagining and manifesting cutting edge responsibility, fit for the 21st Century, through their innovation, creativity, smarts, risk-taking and leadership.

++   Laggard businesses and those otherwise unable or unwilling to extricate themselves from BUSINESS AS USUAL and enter the RACE TO THE TOP will lose their social licence to operate

++   Real responsibility will one day drive profitability, and irresponsibility will diminish it, from which point business will become a potent force for good in the world

See also the Core Beliefs page.

12. Can any business be part of the solution?

Any company - whose business model does not depend on offloading costs on to society and the environment or exploiting stakeholders - can become part of the solution, i.e. dial down its participation in BUSINESS AS USUAL and dial up its participation in the RACE TO THE TOP.

Responsible 100 enables any business to:

++   Start on its responsibility journey right away, no matter its size, sector or starting point

++   Adopt the best social, environmental and ethical practices it possibly can, bespoke to its own particular needs and circumstances

++   Find the optimal balance between delivering goods and services at the right price and quality on one hand, and contributing to people, planet and future generations on the other

++   Practice 'responsibility as a skill', i.e. become more familiar with responsibility challenges and more adept at responding to them, become more comfortable, confident, experienced and capable, and thus take bigger, bolder steps to further improve, especially as its improved responsibility performance translates into commercial benefits

++   Bring more and more stakeholders into the business and decision making processes

++   Improve culture and reduce risks

++   Gain and maintain social licence to operate

++   Demonstrate leadership and contribution to society and future generations

13. What is Responsible 100's basic business model?

Businesses and organisations pay to participate. Partner organisations collaborate under various agreements including revenue share. 

All the Responsible 100 benchmarks and all the knowledge contained therein, in addition to most workshops delivered by partner organisations, are provided to participants as part of a monthly subscription fee package, see details below.   

Participation requires minimum time investments from the participant business or organisation. Costs are based on the amount of time Responsible 100's team and partners dedicate to the participant, see below. 

14. What are the participation fees?

Company size
(number of employees)
Recommended hours
provided by R100 per month 
R100’s hourly rateInvestment per month
 1-92£100£200
10-493
£95£285
50-2495£90£450
250-1,99910
£85£850
Rolling over hours: unused hours in any given month can be rolled over to the next month but cannot be rolled over to any subsequent months.

Referrals: monthly fees will reduce by the amount of 10% of any monthly fees paid by any businesses refer to us by a participant, and the referred business will receive a 10% discount on its own fees.

15. How does Responsible 100 compare to other badges and certifications?

Responsible 100 is designed: for scale and impact; to be both the easiest to start and to undertake; to be the most robust and credible; and to provide the greatest benefit to participant businesses, organisations and partners, and to wider society alike. 

16. How can I join Responsible 100?

Businesses

All businesses are welcome to trial what we do for free and without obligation. Please don't hesitate to contact us for more information. 

Employees

For those working in businesses that are interested in Responsible 100, please feel free to take our issues ranking exercise to state which responsibility issues you think are most important for your employer to work on. You don't need permission to do this, nothing gets shared or published. We simply help you explore what we do, and how it relates to your employer. And we give you a simple means to raise this internally, if you choose to do so.

Consumers / citizens

Please follow us. Important roles to play and exciting opportunities are coming soon. See the website footer for links to our Twitter and LinkedIn, and for our email address and UK telephone number too.

17. Who is behind Responsible 100?

Responsible 100 is delivered by Profit Through Ethics Ltd an independent, for-profit, impact business based in London, UK.

Michael Solomon, Director

Michael devised the Responsible 100 concept in 2012 having worked on various forerunning initiatives prior. He has 20 years of experience in innovation and entrepreneurship in responsible business. View Michael’s profile on LinkedIn.

Malcolm Bacchus, Adviser & Virtual Finance Director

Malcolm is a Chartered Accountant, a company director, an ICAEW Council Member, Vice President elect of the ICAEW, and an adviser to SMEs on financing, budgeting, strategy and general management issues. View Malcolm’s profile on LinkedIn.

Andrea Simonetti, Developer

Andrea is a devops manager with 12 years experience in commercial applications of data science and technology. He is an ad industry specialist focusing on ad targeting and campaigns performance. View Andrea’s profile on LinkedIn.
Profit Through Ethics

Responsible 100 is delivered by Profit Through Ethics Ltd., a business registered in England with company number 4769798.
All Rights Reserved.

Contact details

Email: info@responsible100.com
Phone: +44 (0)20 3372 4504
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