Maximise the benefits of buying ethically
What are the benefits of being an ethical business?
Consumers are showing more and more interest in businesses that make positive social impact. Perhaps you donate a portion of your profits to charity, or employ vulnerable people. What are the benefits of maximising this opportunity, and how should you start to go about it?
1. Differentiation in the market
We know you’re doing good because it’s the right thing to do, not because you want the world to know you are doing it. However, you might want to get more vocal, because your ethics will set you apart from your competitors.
Veganism is on the rise, patience with fast fashion wears thin and concerns about the earth grow. Your ideal customers are out there and looking for organisations like you. You’ll be meeting their needs, and moving into a less-contested space in which to market your products.
Talk about your impact as much as possible; use it in your marketing materials, post blogs about it, talk about it at conferences, start conversations on social media. Embed your cause into all your activities.
2. Increased customer loyalty
Your customers won’t just be buying your products, they will also be buying into your ethos and vision for a better world. Consumers who identify with a company’s ethics are less sensitive to price increases and more loyal to the brand.
Communicate your vision and values with customers so that they can invest in what you are doing. Take this further by encouraging them to get actively involved, for instance by donating during the festive period or sharing social media campaigns.
3. Quality staff who want to stay
Staff are more likely to be more productive and stay in an organisation longer if they feel that they are contributing to a social cause. At Clear Voice, we all enjoy the fact that every day our work contributes to supporting vulnerable people, and we are all invested in this mission.
Make sure you communicate the activities your business is taking part in regularly. Encourage staff to get involved themselves and make sure they feel instrumental in shaping the the organisation’s ethical direction.
4. Increased partner opportunities
We all know the benefits of working with other organisations and marketing in partnership. Your ethical stance opens up more opportunities in this area, making partnership with you more appealing to charities and causes which may enable you to reach new audiences. You may even become an influencer, and inspire other organisations to be more ethically conscious.
Talk to other businesses, in person at networking events and on social media. Join the conversation and bring useful insight and thought to it. If you can, why not also offer training for other businesses, to equip and inspire them to support or join your cause.
5. Improved financial performance
Whether charity, social enterprise or commercial business, we all need to worry about our bottom line.
Research from the London Business School shows a positive link between financial performance and social responsibility, both in the short and long term.
How can your business shop more ethically?
Being an ethical business is not just about putting a cause at the centre of what you do and making positive impact. Let’s say you donate some of your profits to tree planting schemes, but you use reems of paper every year from non-sustainable sources. It’s great that you have a cause, but it’s important not to forget about the impact you are making as a purchaser. Here are our tops tips to getting started:
1. Commit to national campaigns or causes such as National Living Wage or Time to Talk Day
2. Do you have a business need that can be met through ethical means? Can a social enterprise deliver a service instead? Find one on the Social Enterprise Directory.
3. Use ethical products wherever possible. Make sure to think about the whole chain of production to eliminate unethical practices.
4. Elect some green champions in your workplace who are keen to make an environmental difference and empower them to make appropriate changes.However you become a more responsible business, remember to assess risks and make sure you do what you say you’ll do.
The key point is show don’t tell. Spread the word about the impact you are making and be proud!