Data from a recent study shows that conscious consumers care almost equally about social and environmental issues. Findings show that these consumers want to see businesses making an effort to be both socially and environmentally responsible.
Out of a list of 25 things they’d “like to see businesses do”, the group chose the following five actions as most the important:
- Reduce packaging waste – 71%
- Offer products that minimise environmental impact across life-cycle – 68%
- Offer products made without slave or child labour – 65%
- Reduce general waste – 64%
- Pay staff the Living Wage – 62%
With the top five issues spanning social and environmental concerns, it suggests that consumers want to see businesses taking action in more than one way, reinforcing that the ethical and sustainable community is multi-dimensional and brands need to respond accordingly.
Quite simply, banning plastic straws but making no further progress to eliminate plastic from elsewhere in your business is not going to satisfy values-led consumer groups.
The high-profile media attention on certain issues – including palm-oil in food, single-use plastics such as straws in the food and drink sector and sweatshops in fashion – might explain why some of these issues rank so highly.
Although the data comes from a small group, it undoubtedly shows the strong link between rising public awareness and understanding of issues to an increased demand for businesses to take action.
Interestingly, Fairtrade, which has been in the public consciousness for much longer than plastic straws or the Living Wage, ranks down at ninth in the list with 56% of users saying it is one of the things they most want to see from businesses.
To reflect the increasing consciousness, the team at CoGo are developing a mobile app that matches shoppers with brands by their shared ethical and sustainability priority areas. Businesses can be accredited for both good operational practice as well as for offering ethical and sustainable products. The vision is that eventually, convenience will no longer be a barrier to shopping ethically and sustainably, as the app will do the research for the consumer.
Co-founder and CEO of CoGo, Ben Gleisner said;
“Our app is the first of its kind to help people find businesses nearby that are taking action on a whole range of issues they care about. Whether you’re looking for a quick vegan bite, a cup of Fairtrade coffee or an upcycled handbag that will last a lifetime, you can search for it on CoGo – and feel good about the decision you’ve made.”
The data on consumers priorities is not only used to match users with businesses that are already taking action, but it is also used to help businesses on the platform decide which new sustainable and ethical practice changes to prioritise.
When users of the platform add their payment cards to their CoGo accounts, their technology is able to collate actual (anonymised) spending data and pair this against consumers values – making a compelling business case for why businesses should adopt more ethical and sustainable practices.
CoGo is one of a number of tech solutions aiming to make it easier for the ethical community to live by their values. Let's hope that’s an indication that ethics and sustainability will only continue to creep up the agenda for both consumers and businesses.
CoGo is a purpose-driven organisation with a unique technology platform and app that connects consumers and businesses based on their values. They believe in a new impact economy where all businesses are a force for good and all consumers can see the results of their decisions and the difference they make.