BUSINESSNEWS

Creating an ethical business – what credentials really matter? 

5 min read

Share this article:
Green car - illustration of a car made out of grass

Customers are increasingly eco-aware

In the past, price was often the most important factor for shoppers. But as the world wakes up to the threats of climate change, consumers care about ethical production and sustainability more than ever. A global study by Accenture found 62% of customers want companies to have authentic, ethical values. It’s not just a fad, either. 72% of shoppers said they were buying more environmentally friendly products than five years ago, and 81% said they planned to buy even more over the next five years.

The lean, green Millennial machine

Faced with the realities of climate change, younger generations are driven to make real, lasting changes. The internet and social media have made it easier than ever to educate and connect ideas, and so green movements – for example, banning single-use plastic, such as straws and coffee cups – can gain mass traction in a way they couldn’t before. 

As the study concluded, “No matter what, sustainability is no longer a niche play: businesses’ bottom lines and brand growth depend on it.” 

 How can companies change authentically (and avoid greenwashing)? 

When it comes to ethics and sustainability, customers want to know a business’s stance. Transparency and authenticity are important in avoiding superficial ‘greenwashing’, defined as “making people believe that your company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is.” 

It can be difficult for customers to spot greenwashing, which is where third-party accreditation schemes come into play. They highlight standards consumers can trust and provide businesses with a framework to make sure their practices and commitments to sustainability are of the highest standard.  

“No matter what, sustainability is no longer a niche play: businesses’ bottom-lines and brand growth depend on it.” 

What ‘green’ accreditation schemes are out there? 

There are many different schemes to help brands prove their commitment to sustainability and to reassure consumers. Here are just a few:

1 – ISO develops international standards across all areas of business to make sure goods and services are safe and high quality. Look out for the 14001 Environmental Management Systems standard, which “helps organisations improve their environmental performance through more efficient use of resources and reduction of waste”. 

2 – Certified  B Corporations: Launched in the UK in 2015, the ethos behind B Corporations is to balance profit with purpose, assessing impact and setting standards for social as well as environmental performance. B Corps aim to have a positive impact on communities and their workers, and to use business as “a force for good”. Accredited businesses were found to grow 28 times faster than the UK economy last year.   

3 – Green Mark: This scheme markets itself as an entry-level certification and a more affordable option for smaller companies, while offering a route towards major certifications such as ISO 14001. There are three levels, from identifying issues to creating a full environmental management system.  

4 – Fairtrade: As one of the best-known standards (possibly thanks to bananas), the Fairtrade Mark is recognised by 93% of UK shoppers, and 83% trust it to endorse ethical trade systems. Businesses can apply for a licence to use the Mark on products that have met the Fairtrade Standards.  

5 – Industry-specific accreditations: Depending on the type of business, you may find there’s a green accreditation scheme that’s even more relevant or recognised in your arena. For example, in tourism, you might be awarded Green Tourism certification or one of many GSTC-Recognized Standards for hotels.  

So, what are we doing to be socially responsible? 

At Gett, we take our commitments to be socially responsible very seriously, especially when it comes to reducing the impact of pollution in our cities. We do this in several ways: 

1 – We have several ISO accreditations, including ISO 14001 on environmental performance.  

2 – You can hail a Gett Electric class to travel emission-free in an electric cab. We financially incentivise these drivers to use Gett.   

3 – We carbon offset every ride in the UK, assuming the worst-case emissions. 

4 – If you choose to hail from the Gett Green class, we’ll give you the option to donate an additional 20p to air-quality schemes, such as air purification in central London schools that are most at risk of pollution.

5 – Every year, sustainability consultancy EcoAct verifies the carbon output of all Gett journeys in the UK. Based on this, with the help of our customers, we invest in carbon-offset projects that protect peatland (a valuable carbon sink) in Indonesia, rainforests in Cambodia and clean-energy programmes in India, all of which are accredited by The Verified Carbon Standard.  

Want to find out more about our eco ethos? Read about Gett’s carbon neutrality and how we’re reducing emissions 

Categories:

Business (68), Ideas (31), Innovation (12), News (41), Productivity (28)