The world is changing. Business is changing. And the people with whom you do business are changing. In today’s digitally-enabled world, your customers and clients (whether you operate in the B2C or B2B space) know that they can afford to be fickle. They understand that a plethora of choices is only a Google search away. And if you can’t ably demonstrate that you can meet their needs, you will lose business to your competitors. Sure, SEO plays a part too. But most consumers, especially younger consumers are willing to do their homework to find brands whose ideals and priorities align with theirs.
And a big part of this is showing that you are committed not just to turning a profit, but to turning a profit ethically. Studies show that almost ¾ of millennial consumers would rather pay more to use a business that has a strong ethical focus rather than use one that doesn’t. And if you aren’t catering to these upwardly mobile, cash-rich consumers, you’re missing out on a highly viable target market.
50 shades of ethics
There are many business owners who have found great success by providing ethically conscious consumers with options which help them to live a lower-impact and more sustainable life. Indeed, an ethical focus is no longer a novelty these days, it’s imperative.
Society and business are (thankfully) moving away from the ‘greed is a virtue’ models that have permeated since the late ‘70s and begun putting more focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
The great thing about CSR is that it affords businesses a multitude of ways in which it can find more ethical ways of doing business while also helping them stay accountable to the clientele that uses them. Although treating and paying your employees well and ensuring that your customers have a direct means of holding you accountable are both vitally important, it’s also key to be able to demonstrate your eco-cred.
In these increasingly environmentally aware times, you need to be able to show that your operations are considerate of the planet we share and the finite resources that are quickly running out.
Here are some ways to do just that:
Eschew animal products
More and more consumers are going vegan (or at least trying to eat less meat) and eschewing products such as cosmetics which are tested on animals or contain materials derived from animals.
There are many ways in which you can eschew animal products from buying fewer dairy milk and using more plant milk in the break room to ensuring that none of the raw materials that go into the products you make come from animals.
Find a sustainable way to deal with your plastics
Plastic has been a ubiquitous part of modern living since the ‘50s… and our over-reliance upon it for pretty much everything we do has proven disastrous for our planet and particularly our oceans. Marine experts like Dame Ellen MacArthur predict that there will be more plastics than fish in our oceans by 2050 and documentaries like A Plastic Ocean have shown in uncompromising terms just how damaging our plastic fixation has proven to marine plant, bird and animal life.
As such, it’s vital that you deal with your plastic waste in a sustainable way, ensuring that they are duly separated and recycled by a reliable service provider. Nonetheless, recycling is still less efficient than not producing plastic waste at all.
Many businesses are investing heavily in plant-based or biodegradable alternatives to plastics in all aspects of their operations from packaging to products which bring us to...
By all means, use branded goods… but choose ethical promo items
Finally, promotional branded products are a wonderful way to create positive associations with your brand by giving people what we all want… something for nothing.
But the disposable (and unsustainable) nature of many of these products, especially those made from plastic, is no longer appealing to ethically focused consumers. Indeed, it can even put them off your brand.
The good news, however, is that no matter what you want to give away to prospective customers at trade shows and other events, there’s a more eco-friendly way to do it. Just take a look at these cool eco-alternatives which give all the value to new prospects but at none of the ecological cost. From biodegradable tote bags to reusable bamboo cups and even eco-friendly USB sticks made from sustainable bamboo, there are a wealth of ways in which you can demonstrate your ethical focus through your freebies.
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