Friendly Soap has secured Fair Tax Mark certification and joins the growing movement of responsible businesses who are proud to ‘say what they pay with pride’.
Hebden Bridge based Friendly Soap is an enterprise based on achieving success by having ethics at the heart of its business model. Their ranges contain no animal products or by-products and have never been tested on animals, meaning they are registered with Cruelty Free International and The Vegan Society. Friendly Soap use an ancient cold-process method so their soap is no-waste, biodegradable and free from by-products, their packaging is made from materials that are 100% recycled as well as recyclable, and they use poppy seeds and hemp bran instead of microbeads.
Founders Rob Costello and Geoff Kerouac both worked at Suma Wholefoods Co-operative (which accredited as a Fair Tax Mark business in 2019) before launching Friendly Soap, where they learnt vital business skills, including that a commitment to putting ethics before profit supports success.
The Fair Tax Mark is an independent certification scheme, which recognises organisations that demonstrate they are paying the right amount of corporation tax in the right place, at the right time. In total, more than 50 businesses have now been certified. These include national brands such as Timpson, Lush, and Richer Sounds, FTSE listed companies including SSE and Marshalls Plc., as well as co-operatives, family businesses and social enterprises.
As part of the accreditation process, Friendly Soap has published their first Fair Tax Mark statement. This details a new tax policy, which commits them to shun tax avoidance. They have also provided a numerical tax reconciliation and accompanying narrative, which clearly explains how much tax they have paid and why.
Paul Monaghan, Chief Executive, Fair Tax Mark, said: “We are delighted to announce that Friendly Soap has joined the Fair Tax movement, and are proudly saying what the pay. Their certification means that customers, suppliers and staff can clearly see they have a transparent and responsible approach to tax.
“The public rightly expects responsible behaviour, but far too often they’re reading headlines that describe the tactics businesses employ to avoid contributing the tax they should to the public purse.
“It is estimated that annually, due to corporate profits being shifted to tax havens, corporate tax revenue losses in the UK amount to at least £7bn. Just think of the nurses, doctors and teachers we could employ, or the renewable energy infrastructure we could build if that tax was paid as it should be?”
“Here at Friendly Soap we’re proud to say what we pay, and contribute the tax we owe. It’s part and parcel of being a responsible business and for us it’s just one of the ways that we can demonstrate our commitment to being a business that’s guided by ethics over profits. It’s only right that when we’re successful we pay our contribution towards the vital public services our business and our people rely on, from the NHS and flood defence, to roads and education.”
Rob Costello, Friendly Soap.
Polling data from ICM showed record levels of concern among the public about the use of tax avoidance practices by business in the UK. Over three quarters of people responded that they would rather shop with (77%) or work for (78%) a business that can prove it is paying its fair share of tax – in both cases, up eight percentage points on 2018. An increasing number also said that it was important to celebrate businesses who can demonstrate good tax conduct and shun the artificial use of tax havens and contrived tax avoidance practices, up six percentage points on 2018, to 75%.
Paul Monaghan added:
“Paying the right amount of tax is about fairness. We’re pleased to see businesses like Friendly Soap standing up and showing that fair tax is central to being a responsible business, in the same way as a having an ethical approach to reducing an organisation’s carbon footprint or a commitment to worker’s rights.”