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Recently, terms like ‘conscious consumerism’ and ‘corporate social responsibility’ (CSR) have entered everyday news feeds. More people are questioning the ethics of Big Corps, and raising serious technological and environmental concerns. With customers now interested in the moral code of the people they buy from, business with a conscience is not only better for society, it’s better for the bottom line, too.

The climate change plan of action for firms

Companies not already up to scratch are expected to adapt their modus operandi to ensure it meets CSR guidelines. Consider looking to the models used by sustainability-driven B Corporations for inspiration.

“Conscious” buyers are at their choosiest, meaning there is a lot of work to do for brands not delivering green credentials and the correct employee ethics.

It’s going to need more than a mere reshuffling of operations, though. Businesses will need to win back public trust and ease consumer anxieties, aid the planet, and pave the way for consumers to lend a hand too. There’s a need for all efforts to pack clout, connectivity and clarity into everything they do. Unlike some of the data violations and faux-sustainable packaging lies seen recently, firms must genuinely put ecological change and public trust at the forefront of models.

The cost of ethicality

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the stock price of the 100 most ethical firms outshines their competitors by 300%.

Firms concerned with side-lining profit-driven objectives can rest assured; moral principles are rewarded in the long run. That said, if you’re a small firm conscious of the cost of an ethical upscaling, see below. We’ve gathered together some achievable internal and external changes that can boost the ethicality and shop-ability of your services.

Internal transparency for the win

Be clear, concise and ethical in your handling and pursuit of consumer data. Data handlers should be as well treated as the rest of the team. Poorly paid ‘ghost workers’ sometimes found at the huge tech firms do little to underpin a social code. Selling (or buying) third party data sets is also frowned upon. Companies who state their ethical data handling procedures will rid consumer fears of online safety and come up trumps.

Clamp down on your data sharing model

Partnerships with businesses who aren’t ethical in their distribution and collection of consumer information will damage you. If you can’t reasonably cut ties, or not yet at least, ensure rigorous data handling procedures are in place, and adhered to.

A movement for ethically-sourced data is happening. Companies such as Data Does Good specialise in transparent data sharing systems – seek out their services! Ethical data handlers operate off the back of full user consent, and provide honest disclosure to consumers on how their data is managed.

Employ a data officer

Having a person whose job it is to monitor the way your firm acquires, shares and secures its data can go a long way. They will ensure robust procedures are in place, are being followed, and that everything is above board.

External transparency

Addressing internal issues has the capacity to resonate externally, but there are also some external steps which can be taken. Not only will they address transparency considerations, they will demonstrate genuine social conscience. This is good for staff morale, as well as outward appearance.

Plant trees

According to treesisters, there are currently 15,000,000,000 trees being lost per year. Trees which deter climate change and prevent the acidification of our oceans, through the consumption of atmospheric carbon. As a business, you can support tree planting through organisations like treesisters.

Eco alternatives

Research eco-friendly variations of your products and services. This might include changing materials used in manufacture, and the processes used in operations.

Colleagues who travel to the workplace every day are generating their own carbon footprint as they go. Perhaps look at offsetting toxins generated by actively undertaking tree planting, or fund alternative travel methods.

A survey by Futerra revealed a colossal “88% of consumers” want brands to help them live sustainably. It’s now or never for your firm to lead the way in adapting how things are done.

About The Author

Elizabeth Hughes

A content writer specialising in business, finance, software, and beyond. I'm a wordsmith with a penchant for puns and making complex subjects accessible. Learn more about Elizabeth.

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