What’s an ethical business?
It’s likely you’ve heard the terms ‘ethical business’, ‘social responsibility’ and ‘giving back’, but in case you’re not 100% sure of what they all mean, here’s a quick rundown.
An ethical business is one that supplies products and services that help – and not harm – people, animals and the environment. For example, an online jewellery and clothes store may promote (and prove) that they source all their Indian jewellery from small business owners in Bangladesh, stating that they don’t support sweat shops or child labour.
Social responsibility is similar: it’s an ethical framework advocating that individuals, business owners and organisations have the responsibility to contribute to the betterment of society. And finally, ‘giving back’ is the actual act of contributing to causes either in time, knowledge or money.
CUSTOMERS FEEL GREAT ABOUT THEMSELVES!
Being an ethical business will help to increase sales. It’s proven.
Consumers are becoming more discerning about who they do business with. If they’re faced with the choice of spending their money with an ethical or non-ethical business, they’ll more likely choose the ethical one.
The reason? They want to make a purposeful purchase, not an empty one. After all, they’re spending their money anyway, so they’d rather simultaneously invest in a good cause, making their dollar go further. Subconsciously, in doing so, they feel great about themselves! And wonderfully, when a purchase is a positive experience, they’re more likely to tell their family and friends about it.
In 2014, Nielsen conducted a study that showed 55% of global online consumers from 60 countries were willing to pay more for products and services supplied by socially responsible businesses. They found businesses that actively promoted their social responsibility efforts were able to boost sales.
You can change the world and boost your sales
It’s actually really easy to become an ethical business, but it starts with an important foundation comprising of integrity and honesty. If you don’t follow through on your promises, it could be disastrous for your brand, as well as being morally wrong. You’ll lose customer trust and your personal reputation will be in tatters.
However, if your intentions are wholesome, there are dozens of ways to become a thriving ethical business. Here are just a few ideas, strategies and practices:
- Donate your expertise or offer discounted work to your favourite charity or not-for-profit.
- Try to go paperless in your office or at least reduce your printing. If you need to do a lot of printing, consider using recycled paper, biodegradable inks and other environmentally-friendly products.
- If you sell products, use recycled packaging.
- If your business takes you on the road, interstate or overseas; reduce your local and global carbon footprint by conducting meetings over the phone or via Skype.
- Donate a percentage of all sales to your preferred charity.
PROMOTE WHAT YOU ARE DOING
Once you implement your social responsibility strategy, promote what you’re doing on your website and all marketing material. Don’t be shy, potential customers want to hear about your efforts because they love supporting socially responsible businesses.
Consider being an ethical business, you’ll help improve the world as well as your bottom line!