Extended producer responsibility, corporate environmental responsibility, and corporate social responsibility are global trends that amount to the same philosophy: corporations and businesses have a duty to take responsibility for their role in climate change and humanitarian efforts. Basically, it means that companies need to take an active role when it comes to their impact on the environment and the world.
Although some may argue that companies shouldn’t have to shoulder the brunt of sustainable responsibility, it’s become clear that a sustainable and socially responsible business model is essential for continued financial success. Beyond continued legislation and regulation that place financial repercussions onto companies that are unsustainable, studies show that consumers, especially those in younger generations, will no longer support companies who fail to take responsibility for their environmental and social actions.
But, why are governments around the world placing this huge responsibility on the shoulders of corporations and other businesses, and what exactly does producer responsibility mean? Let’s take a look.
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The financial repercussions of non-sustainable business practices
In countries and entities leading the charge toward a circular economy and sustainability, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is becoming the norm. This means that companies will face financial repercussions for unsustainable practices.
Although not all governments have adopted this practice, it’s clear that this will be the future of environmentalism. In Asian countries—many of which are responsible for high levels of plastic waste and other poor environmental practices—more sustainable-focused regulations are being put into place. For example, many countries, including China, are no longer accepting waste imports, and some EPR practices are being adopted in countries like Vietnam as well.. This shows that regulations surrounding sustainability may soon be ubiquitous. Companies that are failing to implement sustainability strategies now will soon face financial repercussions for their unsustainable practices. Any company with longevity in mind must start strategizing a more sustainable approach.
Beyond regulations surrounding sustainability, consumers demand responsible companies, too. As more companies adopt sustainable business practices and take responsibility for their role in climate change and other social issues, companies who fail to do the same will lose customers to those that were more proactive in their sustainability strategies.
Consumers care about the companies they support
We live in an era of transparency. The internet and digital age make information easily accessible, which also means that consumers are more informed. Companies that are transparent about their social and environmental impact, even if they admit that it’s not to the standard that they wish to achieve, are more likely to gain and keep customers than those who aren’t. In fact, some studies show that as many as 72% of American consumers keep sustainability in mind when making purchase, and 81% claimed that they planned to make more sustainable choices in the future. It’s a trend that’s seen worldwide and show that, if your company wants to continue to thrive, it must offer more sustainable products.
Consumers are savvy, which means that they will notice things like greenwashing or other shallow practices. More and more brands are being called out over their claims about sustainability leading to damaged reputations and a reduced customer base. When creating your sustainability strategies, you need to make sure that they aren’t just good for the environment, but socially responsible as well. You cannot claim ethical business practices if you, for example, purchase reusable bags from a company that mistreats its workers.
What does corporate social responsibility look like?
Corporate social responsibility sounds like a huge task. In reality, it’s a matter of evaluating current practices and adjusting them to be more ethical. The bottom line should no longer only be about costs. It contains three aspects (otherwise known as the Triple Bottom Line): profit, people, and planet.
It can look a few different ways:
- Investing in and offering sustainable products.
- Carefully vetting all suppliers and being transparent with your consumers about those suppliers.
- Using your position to encourage your customers to make more sustainable choices, too
- Eliminating unnecessary packaging.
- Only investing in recyclable packaging.
Because every company and industry is different, how your company implements their sustainability strategy will likely look different than how another chooses to. The important part is to ensure that the practices that you choose to implement will follow current and future regulations, that it takes into consideration the production practices of the products you offer (including how workers are treated and how raw materials are sourced), and that the changes you make are truly sustainable; don’t fall into the greenwashing trap.
How purchasing reusable bags through bk-bags is a responsible choice that your customers will love
Reusable bags are a great first step toward a sustainable business model. It reduces company waste by discouraging customers from using single-use bags and they show customers that you are dedicated to sustainability.
To encourage your customers to use reusable bags, you can also start charging for single-use bags that you offer, limiting your overhead. The reusable bags that you offer in your store will be an additional profit for your company, as well. You can also print your logo onto the bags, offering a great and unique marketing opportunity.
But, corporate social responsibility doesn’t just stop at better environmental practices within your company. You also need to ensure that the products that you offer are ethically sourced, both from an environmental and social aspect. When you buy from bk-bags, you can be sure of both.
We carefully select the companies that we work with, ensuring that their workers are treated fairly and that their raw materials are sourced in a sustainable manner. Our bags are also certified by third-party entities, ensuring thorough vetting from all angles. When you buy a bag through bk-bags, you’re making a responsible choice on multiple fronts and supporting a company dedicated to sustainability.
Need help finding the perfect reusable bag for your company? Contact bk-bags today!