International Charter Business Ethics and Certification

Small Business Certification
IC9200 Certification has been specifically designed for small businesses.z
It's aim is to evaluate a company, taking into account minimal aspects of its trading history, and instead focusing on the processes and measures in place to ensure future success, and its current customer satisfaction rating. IC9200 can also be adapted for offshore providers to guarantee the level of work produced. Larger companies frequently use IC9200 to evaluate vendors and supplies as a result of the following key benefits:
* It ensures a minimum quality for goods and services provided.
* It validates that a business, no matter how small, has a viable work flow process in place and is able to meet the demands of it's customers.
* It establishes a level of trust for first time business, or overseas companies.
* It ensures the company provides a reliable level of service.
IC9200 uses a streamlined version of the normal application process, meaning that small businesses do not need to set aside large amounts of time or resources to complete the certification. However, as with all International Charter certification programs it requires a commitment to address any shortcomings identified.

IC9700 Business Excellence Certification
IC9700 Business Excellence Certification indicates that a company has in place the standards, measures and processes required to ensure a high level of quality in the services or products it produces and supplies. (IC9700 Core Principles defines this in more detail). IC9700 companies are committed to excellence and continuous improvement. Companies which gain a Business Excellence certification are those which:
* Offer a consistent high level of service/ quality of goods.
* Have appropriate safeguards in place to ensure quality and monitor feedback.
* Maintain an ethical business model with integrity as a core value.
IC9700 Companies are trustworthy, reliable, stable and efficient. They are required to provide regular updates on their status and customer feedback. With this information these IC9700 certified companies are able to continue to refine their performance and ensure they offer the highest levels of product and service. As a result of its nature, IC9700 is used by a number of larger companies to screen vendors. A number of procurement departments have access to the IC9700 status of a company via VendorLink and Ariba. Companies are required to renew this certification on an annual basis, and to provide regular updates to the International Charter, including:
* Completed customer questionnaires.
* Notification of changes in employee numbers.
* Notification of legal action being taken against the company.
The IC9700 certifies compliance with standards EG9001, DHP3003 and EAS405 it also certifies compliance with a number of other closed standards.
In addition to this the International Charter allows customers to feedback concerns directly to the organization, and then works with the company to address these concerns in a prompt and appropriate manner.

Service Excellence Certification
Service Excellence certification indicates that a company has in place the standards, measures and processes required to ensure a high level of quality in the services or products it produces and supplies. (Service Excellence Principles defines this in more detail). Service Excellence certified companies are committed to excellence and continuous improvement in the services they provide their clients. Companies which gain a Service Excellence certification are those which:
* Offer a consistent high level of service.
* Have appropriate safeguards in place to ensure quality and take appropriate actions.
* Maintain a rigrous system of performance monitoring.
Companies are required to renew this certification on an annual basis, and to provide regular updates to the International Charter.

IC9900 Corporate Certification
The IC9900 Certification is the highest level of certification issued by the International Charter. IC9900 Corporate Certification denotes an organization which has reached a level of significant excellence and has in place measures, processes and safeguards which ensure the company operates to the highest level of excellence, ethical conduct and stakeholder interest. Companies that meet the IC9900 level of certification are leaders in their field and rank among the most stable and profitable companies in the world. The main areas assessed are:
* Social Responsibility
o Community Relations
+ The company should have a formal policy and operation towards community relations/
o Impact on local communities
+ The impact on the local community and areas in close proximity to a company's operation should be continually monitored.
o Participate in local community in a positive manner.
+Companies are encourage to participate in local communities, encouraging their employees to volunteer for local schemes as well as sponsoring local events.
o Management of Human Rights issues in the supply chain forms part of should form part of the company's commitment to Social Responsibility and as such is an integral part of the sourcing process. Minimum requirements expected from suppliers on their commitment to Human Rights should be included in all contracts.
* Environmental Responsibility
o Limit impact on the environment by
+ The Company must ensure that any impact on the local environment of its operations are full assessed and action take to limit such impact, where possible.
o Energy aware
+ The Company must make efforts towards reduction of energy consumption and carbon emmissions.
* Corporate Ethics
IC9900 companies demonstrate a clear understanding of the importance of ethical conduct, encouraging employees to participate in this and having internal measures and systems to ensure consistency.
o Encourage the highest standards of ethical conduct among its employees
+ The Company must show integrity when recruiting new staff>
o Recruit and retain staff in accordance with ethical standards.
o Meet the requirements of the Fair Pay scheme.
+ Pay a reasonable wage
+ Protect the rights of employees, whether permenant or contract.
+ Provide a safe and secure environment for employees to work.
# Environments should be free from external threats and dangers, other than those generally accepted by process.
# Environment should be free from internal threats and harressment by other members of staff.
* A clear process must exist for staff to raise greivances, this process must be enforced and displinary action support any findings.
+ Comply with local employment laws.
+ Comply with International Charter HR best practice policies.
* Leadership Values and Integrity
o Companies are encouraged to develop leadership essentials, and begin a program of work with employees to enure these qualities are found at all levers of the organization.
o The company should undertake an annual leadership survey, polling staff on their opinions and suggestions, based on this feedback a leadership strategy should be developed.
o The company's leaders must indicate a clear direction with viable strategy.
o They must not abuse market dominance and not create false barriers to entry.
o End of year reports, such as financial reports, must be validated by both the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer. In their absence approval must be sought from the Board of Directors.

EnviroCert : Environmental Certification
EnviroCert is the international environmental certification from the International Charter. It certifies a company as having in place the correct policies to increase sustainability, reduce the footprint of the company, and reduce the environmental impact.

Spyware Certification
Spyware continues to be a growing problem on the internet The Spyware Free Certification programme evaluates software to ensure that the program does not install or execute any forms of malicious code. Programs are evaluated on a number of key operating system platforms, and undergo continuous monitoring during installation, execution and un-installation to ensure that they meet the following key criteria:
* The program does not install any component or support file that is not expressly required for it's function; including registry modifications.
* The program does not execute any other programs without the user informed consent.
* The program does not launch or initiate network connections, unless expressly required by its function or authorised by the user; and does not transmit personal information without user informed consent.
* The program removes itself entirely from the system, including the deletion of all support files and active registry keys.
The evaluation process involves the installation of the application on Microsoft Windows® 98SE, ME, NT4, 2000 and XP Home and Pro builds. The program is then run continuously for a set time period, with logs of all transactions being evaluated. The International Charter also offers the Safe Download program, which certifies an application as safe to download and install.

Benefits of Certification
Certification offers a number of benefits, including acting as a sign that your company is well established and has the necessary structure and process in place to produce high quality products and services. Companies with either IC9700 Business Excellence Certification or Service Excellence Certification gain access to arbitration services from the International Charter, helping to resolve any disputes that may arise. Along with these benefits there are a number of other more quantitative changes. The International Charter conducts a survey of certified companies every year to measure these benefits, both realised and perceived, brought to the company as a result of being certified. The following were found:
Improved consistency of products and services, resulting in higher customer satisfaction
* Average of 45% reduction in customer complaints in the first year.
* 63% of companies reported increase in repeat customers.
* 37% reported increase in value of purchases.
Reduction in production costs through efficiency drives
* 92% of companies reported increased operational efficiency and reduction in waste after certification.
* 53% reported decrease in product cycle times and on average a 60% increase in meeting delivery deadlines.
Improved morale and job satisfaction of employees
* 53% reported increase in the perception of the company in employee surveys.
* 76% report increased transparency resulting in increased pro actively.
Competitive advantage and increased sales opportunities
* 42% of companies reported increase in international sales


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