Ethical brands and supply chains are emerging as key to consumer choice

Ethical brands
Building trust. Image by Dzmitry Dzemidovich | Bigstockphoto

Ethical brands are emerging and quickly. Surveys show, without doubt, that consumers will support sustainable, ethical brands and whose products have the least impact on the environment.

A survey from OpenText shows that three-quarters of consumers believe that brands have a responsibility to source from ethical suppliers and to be as ethical as possible themselves. Half of Singaporeans judge a brand on its supply chain, and around a third would be willing to pay more for an ethical product. 72% of respondents believe that the Government should introduce regulation, making businesses accountable for their supply chains.

It is not easy to become an ethical brand.

Ethical brands require visibility into every corner of their supply chain and as Lou Blatt, Senior Vice President and CMO at OpenText says, “the ethically minded consumer is exercising more control over their buying power. Brands can no longer claim they act responsibly if they have no visibility into their operations or those of their suppliers.”

It is not just Singaporeans who support ethical brands. Wunderman Thompson reports that 68% of consumers seek out brands that are in tune with, and support, products that reduce environmental impact, along with 61% who look for energy efficiency in the labelling.

Many brands are now promoting themselves as ethical and sustainable. Some have changed their labelling in pursuit of the consumers who support ethical brands. Skincare company Cocokind has started publishing sustainability information on its labels, alongside information about the ingredients.

There is no doubt that consumer habits are changing, and when consumers vote with their wallet brands big, small, wind-swept or utilitarian need to wake up and act.

This trend is not just about moisturiser either. IT companies and telcos are feeling the same pressure, and remember it was those companies that offered a helping hand at the start of the pandemic that were the most popular for several months.

It is not good enough, though, just to make the right noises. Visibility and accountability are now part and parcel of business strategy and public relations. Overall, it must be a good thing, but it provides very real challenges to businesses whose customers demand change.

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