Candidates for the 2014 BBB Torch Award For Marketplace Ethics will be evaluated by an independent prestigious panel of judges from the business and academic community against the following criteria; included are suggestions for documentation:
High ethical standards of behavior toward customers, suppliers, shareholders, employees, and communities in which they do business; Supporting documents may include letters from customers, suppliers, users, shareholders, and community leaders that reflect your company's commitment to high ethical standards. Other documents might include a corporate mission or values statement that includes ethical standards. If appropriate, offer examples of community involvement, or demonstrate your business's commitment to the welfare of other "stakeholders" by outlining specific policies and practices for disclosing information to shareholders; employee benefits such as health and profit sharing plans; or professional and fair workplace practices and compensation.
Demonstrated ethical practices surrounding their buyer/seller relationships; Supporting documents may include company evaluation forms, strategies or complimentary letters from customers or wholesale agents with whom you do business, or written office policies that demonstrate a commitment to ethical buyer/seller relationships. Ethical practices in buyer/seller relationships are often demonstrated through examples, such as action by your company to correct a billing mistake or other error discovered by you or your staff rather than the person or business with whom you did business, or action "beyond the call of duty" to fix a problem in a product or service provided by your company.
History/reputation of ethical practices in the marketplace; Supporting documents may include a company timeline and examples of ethical milestones throughout the company's history, new articles that illustrate your company's commitment to ethical business practices and service to others, and complimentary letters from clients and customers. Newer businesses will have a more difficult time meeting this criterion, but should offer examples to demonstrate the business's efforts to establish a reputation and history of ethical business practices.
Marketing, advertising, communications, and sales practices which reflect a true representation of what is being offered in the marketplace; Supporting documents may include sample advertisements, media releases, sales policies or other promotional material that accurately reflect your company's commitment to truth in advertising. Ethical marketing, advertising, communications and sales practices are demonstrated by showing that your company tells the "whole truth" to customers, including revealing any known flaws or defects in a product or service, so that customers may make a fully informed decision that is in their best interest. Information about self-regulatory association affiliations where advertising and general ethical policies and practices are discussed. You may demonstrate your commitment to truthful advertising by documenting efforts to substantiate advertised claims through research or testing before placing the advertising, or offering examples of advertising that was modified after your company found that an ad was unintentionally misleading.
Acknowledgment of ethical marketplace practices by industry peers and in the communities where they do business; Supporting documents may include articles in a trade or industry publication that reflect your reputation in your industry and community as an ethical business; awards or recognition within your industry or trade group; and, complimentary letters from industry peers or community leaders. Other evidence might include news articles or recognition by community leaders for community service projects and civic involvement initiatives by your company or employees.
Management practices and policies that give long-term value to shareholders, customers, employees, vendors, and surrounding communities. Supporting documents should outline management practices and policies that help maintain long-term value and enduring relationships with shareholders, customers, employees, and vendors. Discuss practices and policies to assure excellence in quality and service, and demonstrate accountability to shareholders, customers, employees, vendors, and communities. Include pertinent sections from an employee handbook or company manual. Out line any formal complaint process to address concerns from shareholders, customers, employees, vendors, or community officials. If appropriate, provide examples of cases where your company made disclosures or took action that had negative short-term consequences, but had long-term benefit to your company, and to shareholders, customers, employees, vendors, or the community. If appropriate, include examples of sound environmental practices or steps taken by your company to honor a warranty, or repair or replace a defective product or service. Letters from shareholders, customers, employees, and community leaders may help illustrate your commitment to giving long-tern value.
Training programs that assist employees in carrying out established ethics policies. Supporting documents may include written office policies or training manuals that include information on ethical matters. Explain how ethics policies are communicated to employees, and how management supports employees in dealing with ethical issues involving customers, shareholders, other employees or the community. Offer examples of formal or informal instruction to employees designed to assure that employees are aware of your company's ethical policies and practices. If appropriate, offer examples of how employees have dealt with ethical dilemmas, or how employees and management resolved an ethical issue. The existence of an Ethics Officer, Compliance Officer or Ombudsman should be noted, along with information concerning the responsibilities and authority of this position.
Entries for the BBB Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics will be reviewed by a panel of judges independent of the Better Business Bureau staff and Board of Directors.
The judges may request additional information from the company or business regarding any of the seven judging criteria. Decisions of the judges are final.
Entries must be received by September 6, 2013.
Winners will be selected by October 18, 2013 and winners will be notified by phone when the judging takes place.
Please include this form with your entry.