I think it is a sign of the times when I was walking down Dean Street in Newcastle to the Quayside I noticed an A board outside the Brewdog pub. On it was written ‘We are a real living wage employer’ in capital letters. I was so taken by the sign that I took a photo of it and, as is normal these days, tweeted it.
The sign struck me in a number of ways. Firstly, it was great to see a company that supports its workers and secondly, great to see one that uses it as a way of drawing in customers. Come inside as we are a good and decent company to deal with. Our people are part of our product
Their website says that they are a living wage employer – a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work:
‘We know how hard our team work to continue our mission, so in 2014 brewdog became a living wage employer. updated with new rates each year, this commitment is just one of the ways in which we recognise the importance of our brewdog crewmembers.’
My third feeling was one of shame however. Whilst I admire that Brewdog are nailing its colours to the mast, it is perhaps a damning indictment of today’s economic climate where displaying that you treat your people fairly is seen as an advertising opportunity. Yet why not?
I have long been of the belief that being decent, honourable, ethical or whatever you wish to call it is an opportunity to grow good business, hence my involvement in the North East Initiative on Business Ethics.
I, for one, am prepared to pay a bit more if it means that the business is more sustainable, built on strong ethical foundations and is likely to stick around for the long term. If I am, then I presume that others are too.
Since seeing the sign, I have checked out their website, learned about their company and seen a good idea for a present for someone. Next time I am on Dean Street I am going to pop in and give the beer a try. All from on A board.
It is up to us, as consumers, to see that ethical businesses flourish.