Consumers Are Intelligent And Understand The Need For Change
All throughout our posts so far, we have written mostly on how social good brands, which includes nonprofits and social entrepreneurs bring about a sustainable impact to the society. This does not mean that social good is or should be their exclusive domain. As a matter of fact big commercial brands through their sheer scale and muscle power can act as catalyst in taking big steps towards sustainability and positive socio-economic change.
Social impact projects or ethical products launched by commercial brands make their presence felt in the markets and in the minds of their target consumers, who reciprocate positively by changing their buying preferences. Why does this happen? Simply because it tugs at their heart. Everyone likes an opportunity to contribute to society and such products act as a conduit for this sentiment.
According to a study by Nielsen, 55% of global online consumers across 60 countries say they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact. The propensity to buy socially responsible brands is strongest in Asia-Pacific (64%), Latin America (63%) and the Middle East/Africa (63%). The numbers for North America and Europe are 42 and 40 percent, respectively.
Today, what we really need as consumers are products that are ethically sourced, and made with the environment and communities in mind over ones that pander to naked consumerism over planet and people.
What Should Commercial Brands Do?
As a part of their corporate social responsibility, brands have supported and funded Nonprofits and similar organizations carry out social change. But that may not be enough, since the impact is restricted given the inefficient flow of charitable money through various players. Here is how some well-known brands get involved in social good.
- Sourcing Raw Materials from Fair Trade Organizations
Fair trade organizations believe that trade must benefit the most vulnerable communities and deliver sustainable livelihoods to them by developing opportunities, especially for small and disadvantaged producers. Commercial brands can bring about big-scale impact to the low-income groups by sourcing materials directly from them, giving them a sustainable means of livelihood.
Premium coffee brand, Starbucks sources its coffee beans from fair trade organizations in Africa and South East Asia, providing sustainable livelihood and a fair price for their produce to the coffee growers.View video here.
- Using Sustainable Components In Production
Many large commercial brands get components of their products manufactured by other companies. In such cases, large commercial corps could look at engaging sustainable brands and use the products made by them.
- Employing Disadvantaged Communities
Commercial brands can engage a particular disadvantaged community – be it socially neglected women or poor but talented artisans as employees in their organization. That way, commercial brands can deliver a long-term impact by ensuring a sustainable livelihood for BoP, handicapped or low-income groups.
Although in a testing phase, Amazon has engaged the popular social good brand, Mirakle Couriers as their courier partner in some parts of Mumbai, ensuring more employment for differently-abled employees working for Mirakle.
- Reselling ‘Impact Products’
Users are always receptive to products that make a difference. Commercial brands can contribute towards social impact by reselling products made by social good brands thereby multiplying the positive social impact.
In the globalized and market-led world of today, consumers have choice of products. For far too long we have bought or used products that have pandered to our naked consumerism over planet and people. Time to change our preferences. Commercial brands have a great opportunity to bring about social good by changing consumer preferences towards sustainable and ethically made products.
Have you come across any such commercial brands? We would love to know more about them!
Cover image source: FKD