Thursday, April 7, 2016

does anyone really care how far we're open and transparent in how we do business?

In recent news, there's been a furore of activity over leaked papers about tax havens and money laundering by an international finance firm on behalf of the rich and famous, (allegedly). 
This comes on the back of various campaigns and calls for big business to be more responsible in paying tax and treating employees and people in their supply chain with dignity and respect.
And all of this comes on the back of previous movements around fairtrade, environmental impact, sustainability, and such like.

You would think that all of the media coverage of these themes means that as consumers we've a keen interest in how responsible the businesses we spend our money with are acting, and calling them to ever greater account through demanding that they're more open in how they work.
And yet, anecdotally despite petitions and campaigns, most people I know still shop with the likes of Amazon, buy coffee from Starbucks, and similar... so my question is that while we're outraged when we hear of such unethical corporate behaviour, if it doesn't change our own personal behaviours, actions, and shopping choices, do we really care that much?

Because if we don't, then why should firms strive to be more open and transparent in how they do business?

Many of the businesses I support are social and charitable enterprises, and there's been various encouragements to them over the years to show such openness through reporting on their social impact. And yet researches and surveys show that increasingly, when they do, it's making less of a difference to their customers in influencing their purchasing from them.
For myself - as the only freelance consultant globally (to my knowledge) to openly publish an impact report on myself with openness about my supply chain and other business activities, I know that doing so has never made any difference to my clients and customers final decisions about engaging and commissioning me (I know this, because I ask them!).

So with all the calls for more openness and transparency, I'd like to start another call - this time to start a conversation about what we as consumers really would like those businesses and firms to be open and transparent about, and if they start to, if we'll actually read and act on them...

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