Investing Into Corporate Social Responsibility – Your Key to Sustainable Profits?
In the early 1970s, companies that put corporate social responsibility at the top of its agenda were mocked. As an example, Phillips-Van Heusen’s pension fund’s sale of its shares in International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT) – the first example of a company’s anti-social actions prompting the sale of an otherwise attractive investment – was considered ‘laughable’ by the FT’s New York correspondent.
Today, multiple sources point to consumer demand directed toward companies that ‘care beyond revenue’. Consumers are willing to spend more on goods and services from companies whose purpose and values align with their own.
How do you find the best franchise opportunities in this socially conscious consumer economy?
2020 Accelerated Social Conscience Trends
Our collective experiences during 2020 – and into 2021 – have accelerated a move toward social consciousness that had been simmering for a few years. The effects of COVID-19 and the BLM movement, combined with greater awareness of climate change, have made many people think long and hard about what matters to them.
Consumer trends gaining traction include:
Consumers want the companies they deal with to practice corporate social responsibility (CSR). They expect companies to be proactive with their practices to protect society, the environment, and health.
Consumers want convenience, and a seamless customer journey whatever their purchasing channel.
Consumers are obsessed with safety, which is driving the trend toward contactless solutions, digital payments, and, of course, hygiene products.
Consumers expect businesses to hire and source according to a string diversity, equity, and inclusion policy.
Making an impact on local communities and the wider world – and in line with the social purpose of consumers. If you can buy a product or service from a company that helps to deliver your important goals, why wouldn’t you?
Find the Right Opportunity in a CSR Dominated World
Consumer trends are important to understand when searching for the best franchise opportunity for you. They influence how and where consumers spend their dollars.
So-called ‘conscious consumerism’ is no longer a fad. It is a movement. While many people focus on cost and necessity, our next thought is where is this product from or who provides this service – and what do they stand for? Cost and social impact are no longer mutually exclusive.
Consumer spending decisions are increasingly driven by the desire to make purchases that have a positive social, environmental, and economic impact. Your success as a franchisee could be determined by how ethical your products, services, and franchise are perceived to be.
Examples of Ethical Products
Millennials became the largest living generation in 2019. They make up a huge portion of consumers. Consequently, it pays to understand their spending habits when you are thinking of starting a business. A whopping 73% of them are prepared to pay more for sustainable goods – including energy, clothing, food and drink, and health and beauty. This includes:
Renewable energy vs fossil fuels
Natural materials vs synthetic clothing (and where made)
Plant based foodstuffs vs meat
Ethical health and beauty products
Non-environmental damaging home and garden products
The issues that stop consumers buying unethical goods and services include:
Environmental and climate damage
Length of journey from factory to shop
Human costs (e.g., fair trade products0
Use of toxic chemicals
Paying a fair rate of tax
We are witnessing a willingness to spend more money on local, organic produce; eco-friendly cleaning services; green energy; cotton clothes that haven’t been shipped thousands of miles; etc.
What Does This Mean for Franchise Buyers?
What all this means for you as a franchisee is that, before you decide to pull the trigger on a franchise opportunity, it is crucial to understand the trends affecting the consumers you hope to sell to.
Remember, 73% of millennials would be prepared to spend more on products that align with their values of sustainability. Owning a business that cares beyond revenue could deliver higher revenues and bigger profits.
Understanding all this, would you now rather buy a franchise in Junkluggers (with the goal of donating or recycling 100% of its loads by 2025) or 1-800-GOT-JUNK (that ‘will try to donate or recycle before dumping the rest into a landfill)?
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