When Fortune magazine named America's Most Admired Companies, one of the key factors in making it to the top of the list was social responsibility.
Socially responsible companies make a conscientious practice of contributing positively to the welfare of their employees, customers, society and the environment. This includes being ethical and committed to minimizing the company's environmental impact or carbon footprint.
There are a few reasons why you should start buying from socially responsible companies:
1. By aligning yourself with socially responsible companies, you're doing your bottom line a favor - study after study has shown that consumers are willing to pay more for goods from socially responsible businesses. Part of being a socially responsible business is holding your vendors up to the same standards.
2. If you are building or already have a social responsibility commitment, doing business with others who have made that same commitment shows your employees and your customers that you're serious.
3. By buying from socially responsible companies, you will be incorporating yourself into community building, one of the vital components of environmental/social ethics, not to mention good marketing.
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Start buying from socially resonsible companies for your office suppliesWhen your main supplier eventually asks why you're not ordering from them anymore, tell them why.
Buy kitchen supplies from socially responsible companies that sell eco-friendly cleanersStill using toxic cleaners to wipe up coffee spills in the break room? Look for eco-friendly kitchen cleaners and supplies. Many of them will be found at your local store.
Buy your electronics and software needs from a socially conscious companyHigh-tech companies were among the first to accept social responsibility as something to embrace as consumers began to fight back against companies who violated ethical and environmental policies by simply not buying products from those companies.
Whenever possible, buy from local, independent companiesIf you're a small company, it only makes sense to support other small businesses in your community. Look for co-ops, farmers' markets and independent business associations to find what you need to make your business work. Remember that whenever possible, you should buy everything locally - this cuts down on packaging and fuel costs to ship your items.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and GoGreen.net have searchable databases so you can find the farmers' market closest to you. The American Independent Business Alliance and the National Federation of Independent Business are good resources to find small businesses like yourself that are worthy of your dollars.
- Don't assume that because a product or company calls itself "green" or "ethical" means that it's so. Always go to the website - every company should have a page outlining its socially responsible commitment.