Updated: Oct 1, 2019
By Hannah Elauria
According to a Net Impact Survey in 2012, 65% of university students expect to make a difference socially or environmentally at some point in their adult career, and 58% would agree to a 15% pay cut to work for a company who has similar moral obligations as them. What a concept! As more and more millennials and younger generations saturate corporate America, it is imperative to highlight the benefits of running a socially responsible company.
So what is a socially conscious business? These are the companies and brands who are in business to make a difference in the world, not just for profit.
These businesses are ethical to their workers, meaning they give their employees fair wages, and provide them with ethical working standards. For example, Alternative Apparel is a fashion company dedicated to respecting the rights of workers in all countries and believe in the right to fair and safe workplace conditions. Their factories operate in accordance with the Fair Labor Association Workplace Code of Conduct and they make over 70% of their garments with sustainable materials and processes—something fast fashion companies such as H&M and Forever 21 are reluctant to do in pursuit of a larger profit margin. From top to bottom management, these companies rely on their ethics and values as a pillar of their decision-making.
ADVOCATES FOR THE PEOPLE
These businesses put people before profit—an aspect of our economy that’s harder to find than you think! They rely on the symbiotic relationship they share with their consumers. Efforts such as reliable customer service, and clear communication channels for troubleshooting are just a couple ways a business can increase their human-based interactions.
ADVOCATES FOR THE PLANET
As conscious practitioners, these businesses take pride in consistently educating themselves about new, innovative ways to run their business and reduce their environmental impact. Efforts such as eco-friendly product packaging or sustainable office operations can elevate a business as an advocate for our beautiful planet we get to call home. And with the “Greta Thunberg Effect” happening, more and more consumers are asking companies they purchase from to become more earth-friendly.
INVOLVED WITH THEIR COMMUNITY
Every business starts small, and we must always remember our roots. Socially conscious businesses are on a mission to better their “niche” community somehow, someway. Whether it’s through philanthropic efforts, supporting a local business, or a partnership with a non-profit, these companies simply give a damn.
For example, if you own a restaurant business, consider donating your leftover food to a local soup kitchen, or partnering with a local organization that aids those who are in need of food.
HOW IT HELPS YOUR BUSINESS
Once your business employs socially conscious practices, it’s important to let the world know what you’re doing! As you innovate your company to be more socially responsible, your stakeholders, customers, employees and the media should know. Let your stakeholders know that you are making an effort in establishing your business within an ever-changing economy. Let your customers know that you are constantly growing as a company in order to better the society you interact with. By showing your employees what a stellar company you are to work for, they will further share their experiences with the world—AKA extra PR and validation for you! Lastly, tell the media because well...even businesses need their clout! There’s no better confirmation of your efforts than other people in the media raving about it.
LUM A TERRA FAVORITES
From small businesses to multinational corporations, giving a damn is a universal notion! (Who would’ve thought?) Some of our favorite socially conscious businesses are:
Do you own a business that is socially conscious, or do you want to learn about ways you can be more conscious in your business practices? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat about lighting the world together!