New Radicals 2014: The Fair Tax Mark

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For the third year running, in 2014 the Observer and Nesta launched a competition to find the top 50 people, projects and organisations offering innovative ways to tackle social challenges.

There were apparently at least 1,000 ideas suggested. I'm pleased that in this large and exciting crowd the Fair Tax Mark apparently stood out and has been named as one of the New Radicals 2014. The citation says:

The Fair Tax Mark is a system of certified accreditation for “working out who the good guys are” when it comes to businesses paying the correct amount of tax.

Launched in February 2013 by Richard Murphy of the Tax Justice Network, it began by working with three ‘pioneer’ companies and is now advancing into the mainstream through discussions with FTSE 100 companies.

The Mark is designed to become a symbol of pride for accredited businesses, demonstrating to competitors and the public that the organisation believes in transparency and the ethical and societal value of paying tax.

The process of accreditation is focused on three areas — a business' policies towards tax, the transparency of its tax affairs and how close it is to paying an amount that is appropriate. If an organisation is considered to be responsible by these criteria, the Mark is awarded.

The Fair Tax Mark has gained cross-party political support, and has ambitious plans for the future. With a multinational standard launching in the next month, the aim is for the Mark to emulate FairTrade branding to become a broadly recognised symbol of ethical industry.

That rather overstates my role I think and very definitely understates the initial role of the Tax Justice Network, the work of Meesha Nehru who has done amazing things on this project, Paul Monaghan who has been instrumental in building our links with Coops and the team at Ethical Consumer with whom we've been working since October 2013 and without whom this would not have happened.

Thanks everyone.

We're here to stay. And I have a feeling tax reporting will eventually look very different as a result.