Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Ethical Business: How to do it right

I'm renting out my mother's house to two very lovely people. I've got my gas and electricity safety certificates, and was chasing about trying to get an Energy Performance Certificate done. Lots of people who qualified to do the surveys gave it up when houses stopped selling; it had been a huge new market, then suddenly it wasn't. Everyone I called had given up. West Boldon is the kind of place where everyone knows what everyone else is up to, so out of the interconnected Boldon blue, a friend of a friend recommended a man. Yesterday I rang him up and arranged for him to go in and sort it out.
This morning I got an email from him, and here it is.

Hello Sarah,

After our telephone conversation yesterday evening I thought that it sparked a memory and so I checked my records. In August 2008 I supplied an EPC to Colin Lilley for a Home Information Pack for 7 Rectory Green. In theory that EPC is still valid as EPC’s currently are valid for 10 years. Obviously any changes that may have been made to the property and its heating / insulation since then would make it inaccurate. I’ve attached a copy of the 2008 EPC for your information.

Please let me know if you would still like me to go ahead with supplying a new EPC.



Is it just me, or does that restore your faith in the world? Michael Moffatt could have gone ahead and charged me for a second certificate, but he didn't.
If you do happen to need an EPC, and you're somewhere in the Geordie part of England, look up Michael Moffatt, and if you can't find him, get in touch with me and I'll pass him on. He's made my day.

This week I also read defra's new guidelines for writing green claims in advertising and marketing copy. They've had to tell organisations not to write things like "Does not contain lead" when neither their own products nor their competitors' products do now or ever did contain lead. They've had to explain that is it not right to claim a 50% increase in organically produced ingredients, when the contents have only gone up from 4% to 6%. Mathematically, yes, it's correct. But that doesn't make it right, not when it misleads people into thinking it's a lot when it's not.

It was a pleasure to write for Lush, knowing that they didn't have anything to hide and that no-one would ask me to greenwash any of the statements we made. Generally, Lush is years ahead of guidelines and laws when it comes to their ethics.

It's a shame that the marketing departments of huge organisations think it's acceptable to pull the wool over their customers' eyes with their environmental claims, to see if they can dupe us into believing and buying without checking. Wouldn't it be good if they would change their business practices rather than trying to find ways of disguising them. Wouldn't it be lovely if they adopted Michael Moffatt's standards of business ethics; telling the truth and doing what's best for his customers, even if it means losing some trade.

No comments:

Post a Comment