The Responsible Business Standard

Robust, evidence-based Responsible Business Standard certification covers the environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda as appropriate for freelancers, solo proprietors, micro businesses and small businesses:

  • Administered by the Organisation for Responsible Businesses, a nationally recognised member-owned, not-for-profit entity committed to ethical practices.
  • Developed collaboratively with validation from Anglia Ruskin University, ensuring academic rigour and credibility.
  • Tailored for micro and small businesses in the UK, including sole proprietors, with a focus on practicality and relevance.
  • Comprehensive coverage of UK legislation and industry best practices across six key areas: workplace, community, environment, marketplace, governance, and ethics.
  • Rigorous assessment process involving two independent auditors to ensure fairness and accuracy.
  • Customised assessments are based on the unique characteristics and impact of each applicant, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach (ASTI).
  • Online framework provided to guide companies in preparing for audits, ensuring readiness and minimising additional expenses.
  • Cost-effective certification process, with audit rates starting at £375 for sole proprietors, payable every three years, along with an annual fee of £175.
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“Nothing worth having comes easy.”

Any certification worth having needs committed work put into it. We are proud of the thorough, evidence-based certification process we offer.

Our carefully trained external team of Responsible Business Specialists are a credit to our business philosophy.

Working through the course first is mandatory. See if you're ready or whether your values really need embedding.


Our auditing process is carried out in a timely fashion. No waiting for 12 months upwards for feedback.

Once your application and information is submitted, you can expect first-stage results within 2 months!

Three Options


Monitored Self-Assessment Certification

An ideal first-stage certification.

Social Value (Community) Certification

Evidence community value to enhance your business reputation and win more contracts.

Responsible Business Standard Certification

Our flagship certification. The jewel in the crown!


Who we are


Don't force a round peg into a square hole. We know how perfectly unique smaller businesses are.

We are Organisation for Responsible Businesses (ORB) and suitably, we're all about responsible business. We've been leading the charge since launching in 2010.

Frustrated by the lack of appropriate certification options for smaller businesses, we collaborated with Anglia Ruskin University to develop the Responsible Business Standard (RBS) in 2011.

We're a member-owned not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. Our mission is to change the world, one small business at a time.

At the core, we are a membership organisation so if you'd like to join the tribe, head to our website to learn more about applying for membership.


Our approach

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We do things differently here. Our certification is tailor-made for small businesses, with no confusing jargon - just a warm and engaging approach throughout.

We don't dictate what you should do. Instead, we help you uncover the true essence of your business, identify areas for improvement, and determine your next steps.

And we never, ever rely on box-ticking alone. We believe actual responsible business requires flexibility and nuance, not rigid formulas. That's why we created the ASTI approach, to adapt to your business's unique needs.


It all starts with the course

We will take you on a soul-searching journey to identify if your business is operating ethically and responsibly and genuinely making a positive contribution to society.

Our business-orientated, pragmatic approach to responsible business, also referred to as ESG (Environment, Social & Governance) will encourage you to delve into the heart of your business, think about how you are operating now, how much better your business could be, and what steps you are going to take next.

Once you have completed the course, you can choose whether or not you wish to take any of the certification options. No pressure. Your choice.

The world is changing faster than ever before, and many finally realise that no matter the size or shape of our organisation, our actions have an impact on people and the planet.

We must all strive to create a positive influence on society and our planet – not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it's good for business.

In today's society, responsible businesses are the most profitable and sustainable (in the holistic sense of the word).

No organisation is too big to be held accountable, and no business is too small to make a difference.

That's why we invite you to embark on a journey with us and become the example we all wish to see.

It's just good business!