Today consumers are driven by values more than ever. People have became aware of values. They ask the origin of goods. They want to know who has manufactured their clothes and in which environment. Have slaughter animal had good conditions all the way from birth to the consumers´ plate? Transportation – how long did it take, did it harm nature ? What chemicals were used ? Does the company know the product life cycle, including sub-suppliers.
If the company is willing to answer these questions and build up the sustainable business, it means that company’s values must meet the consumer values. Each and every employee should know and make the values true every day. Also the sub-suppliers need to be committed to same values. This work is something you cannot do in a day or a year – it is a result of the long term strategy. Sustainability has became part of the normal strategy work in companies. When the strategy is up and running it is a excellent opportunity for the company. But no matter how well the brand was built and how well most of the employees are supporting the brand, the system is as strong as the weakest point. A well built reputation may be ruined by one person or one sub-supplier. Consumers have an excellent memory. It takes years to win back the trust. It is not only about building the strategy but also to follow-up and improving it every day.
Global companies are even competing who is doing best in sustainability. Since 1999 Dow Jones were the first global indices to track the financial performance of the leading sustainability-driven companies worldwide. Dow Jones describes the contest as follows: “The DJSI follow a best-in-class approach, including companies across all industries that outperform their peers in numerous sustainability metrics. RobecoSAM invites over 3,000 publicly traded companies, including 800 companies in emerging markets, to report annually on their sustainability practices.The Corporate Sustainability Assessment provides an in-depth analysis of financially material economic, environmental and social practices, such as innovation or supply chain management, climate strategy and stakeholder engagement and places a special focus on industry-specific risks and opportunities. ” Results for 2013 were announced on September 12th of 2013. The first three on the list were as follows:
- Volkswagen AG Automobiles & Components
- Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd Banks
- Siemens AG Capital Goods
You will find the report at the following address:
We as consumers have a responsibility to request the goods which meet our values. As we can see the companies will answer to our request. As a closing point I would like to point out that it is not always an easy task. Even if your aims are good the result might not be. We have seen that ecological diesel power might cause the disappearance of rainforests. Ecologically produced food might cause the price increase which leads to famine of the poorest people.