YORK has become the UK's first Good Business Charter city - an initiative to promote responsible behaviour such as prioritising employees' wellbeing and sourcing ethical products.

Organisations signed up to the charter agree to 10 commitments, which include paying the real living wage, paying fair tax rates and taking responsibility for the environmental impact of their work.

City of York Council, the University of York, Aviva, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have already signed up.

And the Good Business Charter organisation hopes other cities will follow York's lead in championing the scheme.

Julian Richer, who set up the UK’s largest hi-fi retailer, Richer Sounds, wrote The Ethical Capitalist and is the founder of the Good Business Charter. He said: “This is such an important moment for York – and I am so pleased to see my home city be the first to embrace the ten components of the Good Business Charter. We are excited to see the impact it brings across the city, especially for employees, consumers, visitors and investors, and the ripple effect that can have for the region and nation."

“There are many thinkers in the area of responsible capitalism but York is taking hold of something really practical to roll out and I am convinced it will make the city even more attractive as a place to live and work.”

The Good Business Charter was developed with the Confederation of British Industry, the Trades Union Congress and Federation of Small Businesses.

Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that in 2019 to 2020, before the pandemic, 58 per cent of people living in poverty were part of a working family.

The Good Business Charter aims to address the issue of in-work poverty by encouraging businesses to pay the real living wage and promoting a fair approach to zero-hours contracts.

Paul Kissack, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “It is exciting to see York leading the way in championing the Good Business Charter.

"We are proud to be able to sign up to this new charter as we know all employers have a key role to play in loosening the grip of poverty on our society.

“It is deeply concerning that for millions of people across the UK work is not currently providing a reliable route out of poverty.

"Good work can help to establish the firm foundations families need to achieve a decent quality of life.

"The ongoing pandemic has shown us what we are capable of achieving when we rally together around a shared purpose. We hope others in York, and around the whole country, sign up to the Good Business Charter which has the potential to both improve the way we do business and improve the lives of many.”