Consumers Care About Social Responsibility

I recall early in the last decade that companies didn’t respond to calls for corporate social responsibility because consumers didn’t care. That seems to have changed, which is a very good thing. Since then, corporations have had to accommodate the growing concerns of people and have even gone so far to create new brands that focus on ethical behaviour. The consumer times are changing!

Treatment of employees is the biggest factor (45%) when people decide how responsible a company is. Environmental impact follows close behind (38%). Transparency, corporate oversight, and impact on society are also important factors.

Companies shouldn’t think that the trend towards socially-responsible purchasing means that they can just claim that their products are “green” and call it a day. According to the survey, 63% of people trust company claims about social responsibility only sometimes–when they do verify information, it’s often by reading product packaging, checking out the news, and doing independent research.

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“Upcycling” Gets Corporate Interest

Upcycling takes items that would otherwise be wasted and makes them into useful products. James, who works for Terracycle, wrote to let me know that they have teamed up with Kraft to make some upcycled bags. I wonder how people will react to branded recycling.

Kraft will become the first major multi-category corporation to fund the collection of used packaging associated with its products. Several Kraft brands, including Balance bars and South Beach Living bars, Capri Sun beverages, and Chips Ahoy! and Oreo cookies, are now the lead sponsors of TerraCycle Brigades. These nationwide recycling programs make a donation for every piece of packaging a location collects.

“Sustainability is about looking out for future generations. Kraft is proud to partner with TerraCycle, an innovative company who has made it their mission to reduce the impact on landfills and to educate consumers on the importance of recycling,” says Jeff Chahley, Senior Director, Sustainability, Kraft Foods. “TerraCycle’s model of rewarding ’brigade hosts’ is a novel way of collecting packaging waste that would otherwise have been sent to landfills. It’s so cool to see trash turned into merchandise that’s unlike anything else on the market.”

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