This web page lays out the ethical basis on which We Are Futureproofs operates internally and externally. Every organisation has ethical positions, but most don’t make them explicit. Making ours clear will hopefully have two major effects: (1) to enable us to act properly and consistently; (2) to choose consciously what ‘properly’ means for us.
This page exists for us as much as it does for you. By being open about our ethics, we let you know who we are and what we stand for. This tells you how you can expect us to behave, and hold us to account when we fall short. And it does affect you to some degreee, because us holding to our ethics may conflict with your actions. If it does, we will follow our ethics, not the money.
We Are Futureproofs exists to help the book industry to carry out its mission to educate, inform and entertain the public. To do this, we must ensure that we act always in the best interests of the public – not ourselves, not our shareholders, not even our customers. We therefore aim to be an organisation that is explicitly and actively:
Although we hold ourselves to these standards, we do not actively police the content uploaded to the Futureproofs service. However, this ethical policy may affect who we accept as a customer and will certainly affect any complaints we receive (see the Code of Conduct below).
We do not hide how we do business: we are proud of what we do and how we do it. Our pricing and services are always clearly described, and we don’t hide extra charges from customers, for example. Internally, we are open about everyone’s salary and the business’s finances and general performance. There are limits to our openness – we won't discuss our internal management and plans in public, for example, and nor will we discuss one customer's concerns with anyone else. But we'll try to be open about everything else.
We aim to treat our staff and customers fairly. We don’t overcharge our customers and make sure they always know what to expect from us. We don’t actively police the content uploaded to the Futureproofs service, but the content they publish may affect who we accept as a customer if it’s not fair to all or conflicts with our own ethics. We encourage staff to engage with fairness in society more broadly, and provide 6 paid social-responsibility days each year for them to use as they choose – to care for others, to volunteer or campaign for justice, or to protest in the streets.
We understand that stereotyped gender roles harm us all, so we aim to treat everyone as individuals and on their own terms, because it is both our simple duty and the way to be a better business. This means not just the bare minimum of adhering to antidiscrimination laws but also making space for people to be themselves. We aim to recruit staff from a broad range of backgrounds, welcome flexible working, and don’t expect staff to work beyond their agreed hours. Generally, we aim to help dismantle patriarchal ways of working and of being.
We want our staff and customers to live full lives regardless of their sexual or gender identity. This means supporting sensitively any particular needs that staff may raise with us, as well as ensuring that our workplace is genuinely inclusive of people of all sexualities and none. We recognise that people who identify as LGBTQ+ have a history and context of their own that does not belong to us and that we must respect.
We understand and accept that racism is the combination of prejudice based on someone’s race or ethnicity with institutional or societal power. We aim to be not merely “not racist” but actively anti-racist. This means being involved in exposing and removing all barriers to our staff and customers based on their race or ethnicity. We recognise as a team that we have inherited privilege and power based on our ethnicity, class, gender and education, and that it is our duty to use that privilege to correct the system that created it.
Because we have laid out a strong ethical basis, we have strong expectations of ourselves, of new staff members, and also of our customers and network. We Are Futureproofs Ltd is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of staff or customers in any form.
This code of conduct applies to all Futureproofs spaces, including our office, chat channels, email, website, application, conferences, podcasts etc., both online and off. Anyone who violates this code of conduct may be sanctioned or expelled from these spaces at the discretion of the We Are Futureproofs leadership. (And, for the avoidance of doubt, the senior leaders are just as subject to this code as anyone else, and can be held to account by the Board, by the staff or by customers via this Code.)
Harassment includes the following. These are examples and not an exhaustive list, and should be treated as such – just because an incident doesn’t fit neatly into a category below doesn’t mean it isn’t harassment and be treated as such.
We Are Futureproofs prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort. Our leadership will not act on complaints regarding the following.
If you are being bullied or harassed by an employee or associate of We Are Futureproofs, notice that someone else is being harassed, or experience or notice bullying or harassment on the Futureproofs platform, please contact us directly. All such reports are handled personally by our CEO. (If the CEO is the person who is harassing you, your incident will be handled by the Chair of the Board.) We will treat any complaint in total confidence and with sensitivity while it is investigated, and will respond as promptly as we can. Bullying and harassment will be treated as disciplinary offences for employees.
In all cases, we will ensure that a victim of harassment is treated sensitively and is not subject to intimidating interviews or questions. We will ensure that we support the victim appropriately, including sourcing and paying for counselling and other treatment if they would like it.
This code of conduct applies primarily to spaces managed or controlled by We Are Futureproofs Ltd but, if you are being harassed by an employee or associate of We Are Futureproofs Ltd outside our spaces, we still want to know about it. We will take all good-faith reports of harassment by employees, officers or associates seriously. This includes harassment outside our spaces and harassment that took place at any point in time.
In order to protect staff from abuse and burnout, we may reject any report we believe to have been made in bad faith. Reports intended to silence legitimate criticism will be deleted without response.
We will respect confidentiality requests for the purpose of protecting victims of abuse. At our discretion, we may publicly name a person about whom we’ve received harassment complaints, or privately warn third parties about them, if we believe that doing so will increase the safety of our staff or customers, or the general public. We will not name harassment victims without their affirmative consent.
We will support and consult victims of harassment throughout the process and afterwards. The victim will be our concern at all times, not the perpetrator.
If anyone engages in harassing behavior, our leadership team may take any action they deem appropriate, up to and including expulsion from all We Are Futureproofs spaces and identification of the participant as a harasser to other We Are Futureproofs associates or the general public.
If we have decided to contact you about an incident you were involved in, you can assume that we take it seriously enough to apply sanctions.
We have the absolute right to exclude people from the Futureproofs application and We Are Futureproofs spaces (including employment) based on their past behaviour, including behaviour outside our spaces and behaviour towards people who are not customers or employees.
Employees asked to stop any harassing behaviour are expected to comply immediately under their contract of employment or face disciplinary procedures up to and including dismissal. Users of the Futureproofs application asked to stop any harassing behaviour are expected to comply immediately or lose access to the Futureproofs service. However, cessation of harassment is not enough, and perpetrators will be required to make suitable reparations under the principles of restorative justice, and in consultation with the victim.