Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 13.30.03Large North East social enterprise Gentoo Group has topped Business in the Community’s annual benchmark of responsible business, the Corporate Responsibility Index (CR Index).

Gentoo is the only organisation in the Index to achieve a full score of 100%, representing a 5 star rating.  The Group is also the only housing provider to achieve 5 stars.  This maximum score shows the Group has fully integrated responsible business practices in to everything it does, right through from its strategy, to its operations and impacts.

The CR Index is a benchmarking tool which has helped hundreds of companies’ measure and manage the progress they are making to integrate responsible business practice into their mainstream business at all levels.  It is a rigorous process which assesses companies against a diverse range of factors, from how engaged their board and senior managers are with responsible business issues to the link between remuneration and CR performance.

Analysis of the 2015 CR Index data suggests that significant progress is being made to shift responsible business up the corporate agenda, with an increase in companies taking social and environmental issues into account when developing new products and making investments.  The overall average score of the CR Index has also increased from 85% in 2014, to 91% today, demonstrating the increased relevance of corporate responsibility to business operations.

The announcement of the 2015 CR Index results coincides with Responsible Business Week which begins on 20 April 2015.  Responsible Business Week is an annual initiative bringing businesses together to share ideas and increase awareness of the positive contribution of businesses in society.  During this week Gentoo is playing its part by showcasing and championing responsible business activity amongst organisations in its sector, region and nationally.

Peter Walls, Gentoo Group Chief Executive said: “Responsible business is embedded in our entire organisation.  In fact, it’s who we are.  I couldn’t be more proud of this prestigious achievement, it recognises the hard work and commitment by our passionate staff.  Being a responsible business starts with your staff and our people are at the heart of ours.  We support them to be their best when they are at work.  How can you expect them to give 100% to help others if they don’t feel fulfilled themselves? 

“From a planet perspective, we are aiming to be a carbon-neutral company, something we call being planet smart.  If we only have one planet, what gives us the right to consume the resources of more than one?  It’s a good moral and ethical position to have and I am challenging others to do the same.

“In our communities our activity ranges from helping with loneliness, engaging mature people, or working with young people who are not prepared to access either education or employment.  We have young people telling us we have changed their life and in some cases, saved their life.  This is what drives us.  Making a real positive difference is right at the heart of Gentoo.”

Stephen Howard, Chief Executive, Business in the Community said: “The 2015 CR Index shows us that we are moving in the right direction and companies are now increasingly integrating responsible business practice into decision making right across the business. To truly change business culture, companies need to engage their people to embrace a different way of doing business with responsible values at the core.  So it is especially encouraging this year that we have seen a significant increase in the representation of corporate responsibility, both at board level and amongst the generation of future leaders that will shape the businesses of tomorrow.

“I congratulate Gentoo Group for achieving its ranking and look forward to working together to create a fairer society and a more sustainable future.”

In 2014, Peter Walls was given the prestigious appointment of HRH, The Prince of Wales’ Ambassador for Responsible Business in the North East through BiTC.  This recognised his in-depth understanding of social issues, particularly in disadvantaged and economically challenged communities.

To complement this and add weight to this ranking, Business in the Community has also just confirmed that Gentoo Group has also received two reaccreditations of it’s national Education Award for it’s work with Academy 360 and also its national Workwell Engagement and Wellbeing award for it’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of it’s staff through the Group’s Healthy, Happy and Here initiative.

For further information about the 2015 CR Index including the full list of 2015 ranked companies, visitwww.bitc.org.uk/crindex.

For information about what achieving a 5 star rating means to Gentoo please see notes to editors.