Socially responsible business practices – including organic, fair trade, giving back and going green – are becoming the norm for for-profit, as well as nonprofit, businesses. We’re committed to covering this side of small business with our weekly wrap-up of news affecting businesses that have embraced this socially responsible model, combining a for-profit business with nonprofit sensibilities.
Social Responsibility Pays
If large corporations like Wal-Mart and PepsiCo can find ways to be socially responsible and make a profit, so can small businesses. Blogger and serial entrepreneur Gery Stingle writes about some of the socially conscious practices, like creating environmentally friendly packaging and developing healthy snacks, that Wal-Mart and PepsiCo have adopted in recent years that have paid off in profitability. Stingle writes that this type of business model is one that small businesses should adopt, too.
Socially responsible organizations, which we previously reported had the highest rate of happy employees , may have a leg up on their competition when it comes to making sure their customers are kept happy as well. BusinessNewsDaily reported this week on a new study that showed having happy workers leads to happy customers . Business leaders who pay attention to employees' job satisfaction are able to boost customer satisfaction and increase the number of customers who intend to do repeat business with the company, according to the study.
A Successful Future
Socially responsible businesses will be the most successful ventures in the years to come, according to a recent keynote address at the Mashable Connect Conference. Adam Ostrow writes this week about the address from David Jones, CEO of Havas and Euro RSCG, who said he envisions a world where the people that do the most good make the most money. He also referenced recent programs like Pepsi Refresh and Nike Better World as examples of successful socially responsible campaigns.
There’s Still Time
Social entrepreneurs who think the time to launch their first venture has passed them by may want to think again. BusinessNewsDaily writes this week about new research that shows nearly half of the entrepreneurs interviewed didn't set up their own shops until they were 30 or older. The study from Ernst and Young also showed that close to 60 percent of interviewees described themselves as "transitioned" entrepreneurs who started out in a corporate environment before setting out on their own.
Small business owners that are looking to become more socially responsible but can’t afford to make regular monetary donations can find other ways to contribute to their community, like volunteering their time. Small Business CEO’s Amanda Stillwagon writes that while small business owners who pitch in to help make a difference won’t solve all the social ills that seem to crop up and multiply in our society, they will at least be making progress. She believes every business should have a heart, and shouldn’t be concerned about earnings and statistics alone.
Those looking for their next ring or bracelet will pay more to ensure its ethical jewelry, according to panelists at a recent a seminar on “The Real Value of Sustainability.” Rob Bates of JCK Magazine writes about last week’s seminar, where panelists said jewelry consumers are concerned about where the products they buy are coming from. A panelist from Fred Meyer Jewelers said consumers are looking for products that align with their values and beliefs.
There’s an App for That
Socially conscious businesses looking to increase their revenue stream should consider using mobile apps. A BusinessNewsDaily report details a new survey that says small businesses are finding that mobile apps are saving time and money and increasing revenue and productivity. The survey estimated that the use of mobile apps by small businesses results in 725.3 million hours saved annually, which translates into an estimated $17.6 billion saved annually, based on average pay for employees in small business.
Government cuts will hit voluntary and charitable organizations the hardest, according to new research. Professor John Mohan of the Third Sector Research Centre released the study this week that found that almost 70 percent of third sector organizations working with socially excluded or vulnerable people receive public funding. He concludes that that policymakers need to take particular care in judging the effects of government cuts over the next few years, since those that rely most heavily on public funding are those working with the most disadvantaged people and in the most deprived areas.
We hear about a lot of socially responsible businesses each week. Here are this week’s favorites:
LovingEco: An invitation-only social commerce platform that offers subscribing customers, through a series of limited-time and brand-specific sale events, the opportunity to shop for eco-friendly fair trade and natural products for moms, babies and kids. In addition, 3 percent of net proceeds from each purchase are donated to charitable organizations that help support social or environmental causes.
On Twitter @loving_eco
SA VA: Ninety percent of the garments sold at SA VA, A Philadelphia based clothing brand are locally made in their adjacent Garment Center, always with fair trade and often eco-friendly textiles. Any products they are unable to make themselves must have one element of sustainability, whether it is fair trade, locally made, organic, made in the U.S.A. or recycled.
On Twitter @Katie_at_SA_VA