About Ethical Reading
Ethical Reading is a not-for-profit social enterprise dedicated to making Reading a better place to live and work through helping organisations become more ethical. This includes everything from the decisions made at the very top to the way employees treat each other and the people they deal with day to day.
We want to mobilise people and organisations across Reading to embed ethics into decision-making processes and everyday actions and kick-start an Ethical Cities movement in the UK and beyond.
The idea of Ethical Reading was conceived in 2017 by co-founders Jim and Gurprit, following an Ethics course run by Dan Dennis of the University of Oxford. Jim had already been pursing similar thoughts independently, inspired by the Vibrant Reading Live Lab event organised by Grant Thornton in November 2016. Gill, the third director, joined shortly later.
Ethical Reading evolved quickly over the next few months, with the support of several enthusiastic individuals, and is now registered as a not-for-profit social purpose company. We launched at an event held at Thames Tower on 24 January 2018, attended by leaders from a wide range of organisations.
Ethical Reading is run entirely on a voluntary basis by a core group of three founders with the support of an advisory council and some very dedicated volunteers. Currently, there are no salaried staff.
Our vision is of a Reading where organisations have a deeply rooted sense of ethics and are strongly engaged with the local community.
We’re calling for organisations of all kinds with a presence in Reading to:
- empower staff to become agents for change and help to instil ethical values into the DNA of the organisation
- prioritise the happiness and well being of employees
- foster respect, responsibility and compassion
- appoint an ethical champion, to promote ethical values in the organisation
- embrace a code of ethics
- never ask employees to do anything illegal or unethical
- encourage employees to speak up if they become aware of unethical practices
- measure their social and environmental impact and communicate the results to staff, other stakeholders and the community
- become strongly engaged in the local community and collaborate with each other for the common good
To inspire members and partners to take ethics into account in the decisions they make.
To inspire employers to make their workplaces more compassionate, creative and happier place to be.
To inspire organisations to increase their focus on making a positive difference to society and the environment.
To provide advice and guidance to help individuals and organisations get to grips with challenging ethical issues.
To help organisations understand how to measure and report on their ethical and environmental performance.
To provide updates on relevant legislation and government guidance.
To become a hub for progressive, creative solutions to address ethical challenges facing the local community.
To encourage collaboration between organisations in Reading to drive the ethical agenda forward.
To provide opportunities for local people concerned about ethical issues to meet and share ideas.
Our core values
Our core values are:
We’re keen to embody these in everything we do and to encourage other organisations to embrace them and feel the benefits!
Balancing people, planet and profit
Ours is not an anti-profit, anti-big-business agenda. We recognise that the UK depends on businesses making a good profit and paying their taxes to fund vital services.
Profitable businesses also employ more people and often pay better as well as offering greater opportunities for career progression. They may be more likely to survive through turbulent economic times too.
However we don’t believe that it’s right to push for profit at the expense of people or the planet.
There is already a growing understanding in the business world of the importance of balancing ethics and profitability. We’re keen to capitalise on this to spark off an Ethical Cities movement, starting here in Reading.
Our hope is that Ethical Reading will be the first of many Ethical Cities across the UK, and even the world!
Over the next five years we would like to help other towns and cities across the world set up as Ethical Cities, following the template established in Reading. We’ll gladly share the online training resources we develop with other Ethical Cities and they will be welcome to invite their members to participate in our events remotely.
Each Ethical City will be self-funding, with money raised through corporate partnership fees and sponsorship.
If you would be interested in setting up an Ethical Cities group where you’re based, please get in touch.
Ethical Reading is a new not-for-profit social enterprise. We need your support in order to create online training resources and to continue running inspiring events and raising awareness of ethical issues. Thank you!