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Better Business Bureau ®
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28 counties covering Western Pennsylvania
BBB Torch Awards Guidelines

Candidates for the 2014 Better Business Bureau Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics will be judged on their ethical practices according to the following guidelines:

• High ethical standards of behavior toward clients, employees and the communities in which they do business;
• Demonstrated ethical practices surrounding their client service relationships;
• Long-standing history/reputation of ethical practices in the marketplace;
• Marketing, advertising, communications, and solicitation practices that reflect a true representation of what is being offered in the marketplace;
• Acknowledgement of ethical marketplace practices by industry peers and in the communities they serve;
• Ethics policies that are effectively communicated to employees;
• Ethics policies that demonstrate a long standing history of ethical practices and accountability in the community;
• Training programs that assist employees in carrying out established ethics policies.

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

• At the time the application is submitted, the company must: (A) Meet all BBB Accreditation Standards; and (B) have no significant outstanding concerns that will prevent the company from meeting all BBB Accreditation Standards.
• The company must be physically located within the 28 county service area of Better Business Bureau of Western Pennsylvania. The BBB Torch Awards program is open to all for-profit companies (Accredited Businesses and non-accredited businesses).
• Previous Torch Awards winners are not eligible to re-apply until after three years from the date they were selected winners. For example, a winner of the Torch Awards in October 2011 will not be eligible to apply again until August 15, 2015. Any runners-up are eligible to apply the next year.

DIRECTIONS/INSTRUCTIONS

• Answers to all questions must be typewritten on a separate piece of paper; providing samples does not qualify as an answer to a question.
• A signed copy of this form must accompany your application.
• Additional support materials and examples should be provided in no larger than a standard two-inch, 3-ring binder and any oversized materials must fit in the binder.
• Additional materials may include photos, copies of documents, ads, marketing materials, mission statements, and any other documentation needed to provide support for your narrative. Videotapes, CDs and DVDs are not essential, but will be accepted.
• Please retain a copy of your complete entry. All submitted entries become the property of BBB and will not be returned.
• For promotional and recognition purposes, all finalists must provide a completed organizational history form.

Awards will be issued to one large (over 1000 employees), one medium (100-999 employees), one small (11-99 employees), and one very small (1-10 employees) company. In the event of a tie, additional awards may be given. 

• Competition is free to all entrants and winners of our local competition may choose to pay a small entry fee to enter the BBB International Torch Awards competition.
• Candidates not providing the required information and materials will be disqualified.
• Deadline for entries is September 15, 2014. Finalists will be notified in mid- October.
• Presentations for BBB Torch Awards Recipients in each category will be done in the last quarter of the year.

JUDGING PROCESS

Candidates for the BBB Torch Awards are evaluated by an independent panel of judges selected from the business and academic community using the criteria and standards developed by the Council of Better Business Bureaus for the International Torch Awards. The judging process is as follows:

1. All applications received by BBB are reviewed to ensure that all criteria have been met and that the applicants have provided all materials. Applications received after the deadline or that do not meet all criteria are disqualified.
2. Applicant answers to each of the questions, along with a judging form for each application are then sent to the judges for preliminary review and scoring. The judges have approximately two weeks to review the answers for each applicant. No supporting documentation is sent.
3. The judges meet to review their preliminary scoring and to discuss any applications. Judges may, at their discretion, review any supporting documentation and revise their scores. Judges rate each question on a scale from 1 - 10, with 10 signifying the best possible answer, a good answer rated between 9 and 5, and a poor answer rated between 4 and 1. Judges make a final determination as to the BBB Torch Awards recipient and finalists in each category and may, if they so determine, award a Runner-up.
4. The judges affirm their choices to Better Business Bureau. The decision of the judges is final and may not be altered by BBB.

We understand that the judges may request a site visit. We agree to host the visit and to facilitate an open and unbiased examination. We also understand that by signing this guideline form, we certify our compliance with federal, state and local laws and regulations governing our business or industry. And we agree that we will abide by BBB guidelines for referencing the BBB Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics in any advertising or public announcements. We acknowledge that all submitted entries become the property of Better Business Bureau and cannot be returned.

**Legal Actions: If your company has been involved in major lawsuits, class actions or government action in the past three years, please provide a summary of the nature of the legal/government action. Recent independent auditor reports may be submitted in place of such a summary. For large size or publicly-traded companies, copies of the two most recent Annual Reports will suffice.


Principal/Owner Name: ________________________________(PRINT)

Company Name: ______________________________________

Signature: __________________________________ Date: _______________