Campervan manufacturer, Jerba, recognised among UK’s most ethical firms
Jerba Campervans, which is an employee-owned company, has been accredited to the Good Business Charter, which it says confirms its place as one of the UK’s most ethically minded businesses.
Following an audit, Scotland-based Jerba Campervans was awarded the accreditation after demonstrating how its ethos applied throughout its business, from paying the living wage and a commitment to work-life balance, to its tax arrangements, supplier relationships and customer care.
Last year Jerba said productivity had grown since it became an employee-owned company.
“Our goal is to provide an ethical and sustainable business for our staff which they can be proud of,” said Simon Poole, co-founder of Jerba Campervans, which creates Volkswagen T6.1-based campervans.
“Meeting the criteria of GBC’s charter is another step in the right direction for us. It cements that what we are doing is worthwhile. Increasingly we’re seeing customers acknowledge things like our employee-ownership. They are becoming more and more value-driven and that can only be a good thing.”
Since handing ownership of the company to its team in 2018, Jerba has seen an increase in productivity year-on-year. Like most businesses, it was affected by the national lockdown and was forced to place all of its staff members on furlough as its workshop doors closed.
However, while in early lockdown, Simon shared the business’s full financial breakdown, reassuring workers that their salaries could be covered for months to come.
Simon Fox, Chairman of the Good Business Charter board, said, “We believe that the GBC has enormous potential to change business practice for good. We hope that, because of its simplicity and cost effectiveness, it will quickly gain support.”
The GBC is formed of a variety of foundations and trustees within the Confederation of British Industry and the Trades Union Congress and was founded by Julian Richer, the celebrated founder of Richer Sounds.
Referring to the recent lockdowns Simon added that he urges company owners to consider employee ownership very seriously.
“While it remains a fringe model, there has been a small growth in the creation of employee ownership trusts, which are set up to facilitate an exit route for owners through which the trust must hold a controlling stake in the total issued shares. The outcome being employees can also then share in the financial success of a business in which undoubtedly many have played a key part in developing…
“Speaking to exiting business owners, we know that this is not a reality for most, who instead face months of demoralising negotiations. Many more feel that they have sold their business out, leaving long-term employees exposed to new owners, ‘efficiency savings’ or a lack of opportunity.
“Why not look to those same staff that helped your business become what it is today – and to them as the future owners of the business?”
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