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Why Your Corporate Values Are More Important Than Ever [Confessions Of An Industry Millennial]

Why Your Corporate Values are More Important Than Ever [Confessions of An Industry Millennial]

Why Your Corporate Values are More Important Than Ever [Confessions of An Industry Millennial]

Confessions of an Industry Millennial

As young professionals in a new era of evolving technology and changing practices, millennials are facing challenges that their predecessors never encountered – from establishing a data security plan to preparing for jobs that don’t exist yet.

Join Thomas Insights Associate Editor Lindsay Gilder for a biweekly conversation about some of the issues millennials in industry are facing today.

To many small business owners, things like corporate social responsibility and sustainability feel like a sort of nice option; It’s a nice offering, but not at all crucial to keeping operations going. Up until somewhat recently, that would be correct, but times are changing and millennials have become a larger part of the consumer base — and they’re looking to purchase from brands with sustainable practices.

According to a 2018 Neilsen report, 90% of millennials are willing to pay more for products that contain sustainable ingredients and 80% will pay more for products that have social responsibility claims. We’re past the era of price chopping and entering the decade of the sustainable shopper, so it’s important that your business is ready to adopt some more responsible practices. 

What Does a Responsible Manufacturer Look Like?

Let’s take a look at Patagonia. 

As a brand catering to outerwear, adopting sustainable practices isn’t just an alignment with what it thinks consumers want. The company takes additional, even more costly, steps to ensure they’re sourcing responsibly for ethical worker treatment and sustainability. 

According to its website, Patagonia says apparel workers are some of the lowest-paid people in the world, so its “Fair Trade” certification is a step in ensuring their workers are making livable wages. It claims to have impacted more than 60,000 workers in 10 countries globally. 

4 Small Steps Your Industrial Business Can Take to Improve Social Responsibility

Becoming a company that values corporate social responsibility doesn’t necessarily have to mean increasing costs; there are plenty of other ways to show your clients you’re running a business aligned with good ethical practices. 

1. Hire a Diverse Workforce

Hiring choices, especially in terms of diverse hiring, are an internal choice with impacts that can trickle out to your external image. Glassdoor reported in a survey that 67% of people say a diverse workforce is an important factor when looking for a job. Not only that, but having a team of diverse minds can bring your company to the next level; Companies with diversity demonstrate up to a 35% increased likelihood of outperforming competitors.

2. Demonstrate a Supportive Company Culture

A supportive internal culture is another major facet of ensuring longevity for your business, especially in the era of high turnover rates for young professionals.

You can probably think of at least one brand with a company culture that plays a huge role in its public image (see: Google, Glossier). These companies are using their internal best practices to appeal to the new responsible consumer base, and you can too. 

3. Set Responsibility Goals

Times are tough for businesses across the world in 2020, so it’s understandable if you can’t afford to give workers the raise they deserve or make a huge charitable donation this holiday season. However, setting goals for your company is still an excellent way to show your consumers that you’re aware of the ongoing issues present in your industry and that you plan to address them soon.

This is common among big brands who are looking to make their supply chains more sustainable, with carbon neutrality goals ranging from 2025 to even later. 

4. Speak Out About Human Rights

Whether that’s livable wages or basic human rights, your customers will appreciate your acknowledgment of the issues that have come to light not only in manufacturing but also in today’s world.

Could Escalating Reshoring Efforts Impact Corporate Responsibility?

COVID-19 has spurred a massive acceleration in reshoring efforts across the country. According to a recent Thomas survey, 69% of companies across the manufacturing and industrial sector are “likely to bring manufacturing production and sourcing back to North America.”

However, before the pandemic, manufacturers were reshoring to identify more with social responsibility and adapt to the rising millennial consumer base. So, while restoring efforts are at a peak, the motives behind it have changed, but that’s still not a bad thing. 

Even if you don’t have the intention of doing so, reshoring is bringing manufacturing jobs back to America. Now all we need is a skilled workforce.

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Daisie Hobson

Daisie Hobson is a Director at the Reshoring Institute and an engineer with many years of experience in manufacturing and project management.

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