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It is no longer enough to be in business solely to make a profit. It is about profit and social impact. Profit and positive change. Profit and making the planet a better place. Consumers are more discerning and care about issues like sustainability, child labour and ethical practices. Recycling items is a normal practice, with even clothing websites specialising in the resale of used clothing. Such preloved clothing even has its own collection points in some fashion stores to encourage people to drop off these items.
Nespresso have their AAA sustainable quality programme that develops committed relations with coffee producers and ensures genuinely cohesive links between the growth of excellent quality coffee and the sustainable elevation of the communities that farm said coffee. This sort of programme is good for the farmers, coffee lovers, the company, and future generations and encourages environmental and social responsibility.
HSBC currently work with their clientele to increase low-carbon solutions and lower their emissions as they, as a company, aim to reach net zero in both their supply chain and operations by 2030. Net zero is also the target for their financial portfolio by 2050.
Let us briefly look at a long-standing example from the world of fashion through two words: Vivienne Westwood. Fashion and activism intersected with sustainability, shaping popular culture and empowering people to think about the betterment of the world they live in.
In recent years, menopause has finally come centre stage. Well-being Of Women is a unique charity that covers the broad spectrum of reproductive and gynaecological health pertaining to women. Their Menopause Workplace Pledge has been signed by over 2,000 employers to date, focusing on connecting with / supporting smaller to medium-sized businesses on the realities of menopause.
These examples from the worlds of coffee, banking, fashion and charity are references for the changing landscape in consumer thinking and, therefore, consumer spending. Cheap pricing isn’t the only way to attract business. People also want to know what you stand for, your core values, your beliefs, and the causes you support as a business. Why is this relevant? Because they see if their values/beliefs are aligned with yours before buying from you. They see if you appeal to them in any way and if you are in tune with the ever-changing landscape they inhabit.
Global behemoths like Amazon force small to medium-sized businesses to stand out to generate custom. Connecting with the customer personally is a way to stand out, be noticed, and generate business. This connection breeds brand loyalty and joy in being associated with your business because they can relate to you. There is a deeper understanding of social capital in that more people buy products based on their conscience rather than simply to increase their well-being. More consumers care. What do you care about as a business, and how do you demonstrate it?
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About the author
Malik Muhammad was raised and educated in Jamaica, read law in London and is the author of Coffee & Contemplation. He created The Empowerment Mastery System to influence, help and inspire businesses to cultivate their visions in a specified time. Malik enjoys vegan cooking and quad biking. He is a voiceover artist, ghost writer and convenes empowerment masterclasses globally.