The Responsibility of Free Market Choice

Corporations, like people are not all the same. Social media has fortunately enabled us to get to know our brands and business leaders much better. This allows us as customers to make informed choices about the companies we support and the products we consume. This transparency is so critical at a time when democracy, freedom to information and freedom of choice is being challenged by the government itself.

As I watched the events related to Trump’s executive order on immigration unfold over the weekend I was awed by the sheer willpower and fortitude of those who directly stood their ground to help those affected. I was also overwhelmed with gratitude by my country’s response to the situation. Prime Minister Trudeau was able to sum up our position very succinctly with one tweet #welcometocanada. Easy to say, much harder to do, yet he did it anyway. By speaking up clearly and quickly he asserted our country’s position on a divisive and difficult issue.

There is an opportunity for corporations to do the same. Here are some ways you can determine where your company stands on issues you care about, and if they take a position at all:

  1. B Corp certified. Benefit Corporations are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Look for the logo on websites and packaging. Companies holding other types of certifications such as USDA organic, Non-GMO Verified, and Fair Trade for example often also demonstrate leadership socially and environmentally.
  2. Social Media. Follow the company and the CEO. Look for comments on current issues. Twitter and LinkedIn are great places to start.
  3. Find out what the Corporate Social Responsibility strategy is. Usually you can find this on a website or in an annual report.
  4. Read the news. Keeping up with business news is great way to follow the companies whose products you purchase.
  5. Fact check. No-one is perfect. Do enough research so that you feel comfortable with your decision.

Unfortunately a company’s motivations are not always clear and leaders we thought were ‘doing the right thing’ disappoint us, which leads to the most important criteria of all.

6. Follow your instincts. If you have completed steps 1-5 and aren’t feeling the love, walk away. There will almost always be an alternative, and if there’s not it’s your chance to create one.

Brand for Benefit is committed to helping companies discover, certify and share their greater mission as a path to growth. Our goal is to shift business from margin to mission with better results. Our aspiration quite simply is to help businesses do good business better.

CEO Carolyn Ansley is an award winning marketer, entrepreneur and mother who believes using business for good is good business.

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