The Responsible Business Map

we believe THE prosperity of business and society is inextricably linked

We believe the prosperity of business and society is inextricably linked. If every individual business strives to be the best it can be in all areas as a responsible business, there will be a positive multiplier effect. This will benefit society, the economy and the environment. If businesses collaborate they can have a greater impact upon key issues than if acting alone.

Business in the Community defines a responsible business as one that puts creating healthy communities and a healthy environment at the centre of its strategy to achieve long-term value.

Responsible Business demands purposeful leaders to drive leadership at every
level across the business in order to:
  • understand where a business is able to have the most impact. Identify those material issues that are of greatest importance to both commercial success and key stakeholders and the long-term benefit to society
  • understand how to take advantage of the opportunities brought by digital innovation (eg more efficient use of resources, access to new markets). Manage the unintended consequences (eg cybersecurity, access to jobs, inequality)
  • support and empower customers. Embrace the changing nature of work. Deliver products and services that serve society and drive a transparent, inclusive and productive value chain
  • move from a do-less-harm approach to one of genuine positive change. Create competitive advantages, meet changing customer needs. Attract, retain and develop the best talent.
Purposeful Leaders: outcome and actions against each issue
Future generations

Responsible businesses meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)).

  • Understand where you can have most impact by identifying those material issues that are of greatest importance to both commercial success and stakeholders, and the long-term benefit to society.
  • Adopt a long-term view of natural and human capital creating a positive legacy to your leadership.
  • Base investment decisions on long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability.
  • Nurture a generation of responsible future leaders.
Purpose and values

Purpose-led businesses and brands moving from a do-less-harm approach to one where they are a genuine force for positive change, creating competitive advantages, meeting changing customer needs and attracting, retaining and developing the best talent (SDG 8, 9, 10, 16, 17).  


  • Understand and articulate your purpose, conveying why your business exists and the impact it wants to have on the world.
  • Change your business models to reach your purpose.
  • Make sure your purpose guides and informs your commercial strategy, product range, innovation, new ways of working and workplace behaviours.
  • A company’s purpose must be underpinned by its values, which determine the boundaries by which it operates and creates a culture of responsibility.
Governance and transparency

Increased trust in business and enhanced belief in the potential for business to be a force for good. More loyal customers, ensuring licence to operate and increasing brand value. Well-informed decision making and confidence in leaders that contribute to economic sustainability (SDG 16, 17).


  • As a business leader be inclusive and accountable, balancing short-term pressures with longer-term resilience.
  • Checks and balances should be robust and strategy and operations transparent. This includes executive remuneration, board composition, accountability oversight, selection of pension funds and payment of the fair amount of taxes in all geographies.
  • The highest standards need to be upheld across all operations, especially in countries of weak governance. This should be in line with national legislation wherever you operate, and on issues of public interest you need to go beyond legislation and usual practices.
  • Base reporting and decisions on data and facts to drive change and build trust.
Policy engagement

Societal problems are resolved better and faster through policy dialogue and multisector partnerships as they generate innovation, play to each partner’s strengths and enable scalability of solutions (SDG 16, 17).


  • Go beyond compliance and identify solutions that create value for society alongside the wider economic opportunity for your industry. Policy engagement enables you to influence the nature of the rules that govern the market.
  • Engage in policy dialogue that upholds the interest of society.
  • Be transparent and proactive in approaching public policy activities and align lobbying with your responsible values.
Leadership at every level: outcome and actions against each issue
Stakeholder collaboration

Businesses make informed decisions while being transparent and accountable to stakeholders. They co-create new solutions that generate commercial success generating a better relationship and more trust between businesses and the wider society (SDG 9, 10, 16, 17).


  • Identify and consider your stakeholders and understand how your operations affect them, to find solutions that maximise value for all.
  • Actively identify opportunities to collaborate with a range of stakeholders either across the industry sector or multi-lateral initiatives to solve global issues.
Supply chain and human rights

Higher transparency and expectations of responsible business practices across the supply chain, utilising influence to generate inclusive growth while working towards a global decarbonised economy. Resilient supply chains drive growth and prosperity and multiply impact, delivering social and environmental benefits at scale while creating business value. No violations of human rights across your full value chain, with particular attention paid to countries of weak governance (All SDGs).

Use your purchasing power to select and engage suppliers to foster local economic growth, while driving resilience and environmental sustainability.

  • Use your purchasing power to select and engage suppliers to foster local economic growth, while driving resilience and environmental sustainability.
  • Ensure fair sourcing practices that open opportunities for small- and medium-sized enterprises and social enterprises.
  • Implement robust traceability mechanisms that guarantee visibility throughout your supply chain.
  • Go beyond basic risk management and compliance to protect human rights across and through your supply chain and direct operations.
  • Be aware of the parts of your business that need the greatest attention and integrate human rights policies into every commercial decision.
  • Understand how existing and proposed activities may affect human rights (impact assessment), track performance for improvement and offer grievance mechanisms.
  • Where infringements are found act to ensure mistakes are not repeated and share knowledge to ensure others do not replicate bad practices.
Products and services

Products and services that deliver value and create economic growth (SDG 9, 12, 14, 15, 17).

  • Understand the impacts of your products and services throughout their whole lifecycle. From research and development to disposal and ensure sales practices are ethical.
  • Engage customers and clients in responsible behaviour as well as the information and support provided to them.
  • Re-examine and innovate your approach to designing and delivering products and services in a way that will reduce the impact of resource scarcity on your ability to produce them.
  • Review and, over time, evolve your product portfolio to be fully consistent with your stated organisational/brand purpose.
  • Review and, over time, evolve your product portfolio to be fully consistent with your stated organisational/brand purpose.
Digital transformation

The digital transformation drives smart forms of economic growth on a finite planet, reduces poverty and inequalities, and improves lives (SDG 1, 3 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17).


  • Anticipate the unintended consequences of the digital transformation.
  • Protect, support and empower customers simplifying data practices; being inclusive, and enabling better choices.
  • Embrace the changing nature of work by preparing your employees with digital skills and lifelong learning.
  • Anticipate automation creating new roles where technology complements humans, and support communities to manage the transition and extend your employer’s responsibility by providing security job and protection.
  • Deliver innovative products and services that serve society by ensuring technology reflects human values and corrects unconscious bias.
  • Drive a transparent, inclusive and productive value chain by providing digital solutions and training to achieve minimum social and environmental standards across the value chain. Minimise the environmental impact of operations committing to renewable energy and zero e-waste. Use technology to address corruption, exploitation and environmental harm

Healthy communities: outcome and actions against each issue
Health and wellbeing

A healthier, happier and engaged workforce that drives sustainable performance and productivity benefiting employers, employees, customers and makes communities more resilient (SDG 3, 11).

  • Take a preventative whole-person, whole-system approach to health and wellbeing that gives employers and employees collective responsibility.
  • Invest in community initiatives that promote physical and mental health.
  • Consider how your operations can promote healthy spaces that are restorative and enriching for both physical and mental health.

Businesses create the conditions for every person to achieve a successful and rewarding working life. People can transition into the jobs of the future. Businesses are more adaptable and resilient to market disruptions, they will find the skills and knowledge they need in a fast-changing market place and they will benefit from a more engaged workforce. Businesses create the conditions for the wider society to make decisions that embrace sustainable development (SDG 4, 5, 10).


  • Invest in education in the communities in which your business operates.
  • Engage with school children to help them realise their potential and understand the opportunities available through work. Break down traditional barriers of entry and prepare them for success in entering and thriving in the workplace.
  • Invest in initiatives across your value chain, so people are equipped with relevant information to understand their individual impact on the environment and society.
Good work and inclusive growth

A resilient society where employers and stakeholders work together to continually reduce inequalities. Businesses help achieve full employment, by ensuring good jobs are accessible to all; increasing levels of pay and ensuring good terms and conditions of all employment.  Businesses also invest in skills at every level whilst making the most of, loyal, skilled and fulfilled employees who come from a range of backgrounds. Communities are prepared and able to respond and mitigate environmental damage and social change (SDG 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11).


  • Provide good jobs, both to your direct and indirect workforce, which offer security, rights and a fair income. Good jobs also offer the opportunity for personal development and progression, and a supportive and inclusive environment in which all employees can thrive.
  • Understand how the changing nature of work will affect your organisation and individuals who work for you, plan and take action to support employees at all levels. Provide open communication channels and transparent decision making. Offer continued learning, professional development and progression routes which enable people to move through the whole organisation. 
  • Invest in bringing down the barriers to employment of disadvantaged groups so they can access good work in your business or others.
  • Work alongside the communities where your organisation operates to support them in preparing, recovering and adapting to social and environmental changes (eg job automatisation and natural disasters) including contributing to creating resilient and sustainable urban spaces.
Diversity and Inclusion


Individuals’ career prospects and progression are independent of their personal characteristics, background and circumstances. Businesses benefit from a diverse workforce and are able to access diverse markets and grow their talent pipeline. Individuals are able to live safely, free from abuse and neglect (SDG 5, 10).


  • Ensure that gender, race, age, physical and mental health, sexuality, religion, disability, social status or any other defining characteristics do not determine an individual’s career path.
  • Reflect diversity and culture across all levels with role models visible to the next generation of talent.
  • Offer fair, equal and unbiased recruitment, promotion and reward systems and safe, inclusive and agile work environment where all talent can thrive.
  • Ensure diversity at leadership levels, so all opinions are considered in decision making, and no social group is affected more than others in the event of social and environmental disruptions. Understand, respect and protect cultural heritage, in line with the protection of human rights.

Healthy environment: outcome and actions against each issue
Net zero carbon

Limited increase in global average temperature to fewer than 2C (SDG 7, 9, 11, 12, 13).


  • Aim to eliminate carbon from your business.
  • Understand climate change risks to your business and develop a climate change adaptation plan.
  • Use science based targets to understand your real contribution to climate change, and measure and manage progress towards a decarbonised economy.
  • Influence, support and re-engineer your value chain to do the same.
Resource productivity and the circular economy

Natural capital is restored, preserved and enhanced, resource yields are optimised, waste is designed out of the product cycle and the risks associated with finite raw materials are minimised. Stimulating innovation and creating sustainable long-term growth and new employment opportunities (SDG 6, 7, 9, 12, 14, 15).


  • Commit to the principles of a circular economy by seeking to keep products, components and materials at their highest utilisation and value throughout their lifecycles.
  • Support the use of renewable resources and identify ways of designing out waste and recovering it back into production processes.
Healthy Ecosystems

Increased resilience of urban and rural landscapes, that protect natural assets, support wellbeing and help climate proof community and business assets (SDG 11, 14, 15).


  • Identify where your business impacts on ecosystems that support the environment and enable society to thrive in rural and urban contexts. 
  • Understand the risk to the resources you depend on and take steps to improve the health of water, land, biodiversity and air quality.
  • In urban environments identify where green and blue infrastructure can be used to increase resilience and support sustainable communities and cities.