New technologies and business ethics
Using new technology to switch to a more responsible business ethic
We often hear much lip service around ethics in business but what can actually be done as an organisation to take a more responsible approach to operations on a daily basis?
If we break down what it means to be a responsible business there is a mixture of product, people, price, and planet. Each of these factors is correlated with the others and we believe a holistic approach focussing on these aspects can deliver commercial success by making the world a better place.
First lets assume you are in the market to push a clean technology, product or service. The cleantech industry is a growing space that holds much promise for economic development through reduced fossil fuel emissions. From LED lightbulbs through to electric cars we are seeing a revolution in the impact consumer technologies have on the planet.
So lets discuss people. We have mentioned in the past how important it is to understand the psychology behind consumers interested in more efficient technologies such as LED lightbulbs. Building on that we need to understand not only the psychology behind marketing these technologies but also removing the potential hurdles individuals face when making the switch to a more sustainable lifestyle. We can make use of best practices from fields such as behavioural economics to direct choice at an individual level to drive social change as a responsible business. There is a desperate need to drive awareness with consumers that technologies like LED lighting are not new but have come of age to create confidence with consumers.
The pricing for clean technologies has dropped significantly in recent years but consumer awareness is still in its infancy. Now is a prime opportunity to capitalise on the trend towards a cleaner, lower carbon, economy however we need to be careful around claims and up-front with information. This is especially important in light of the recent emissions scandal; transparent data becoming more important to consumers.
Last but not least is planet. Key to the green revolution and new ways of doing business is tackling climate change. Whilst everyone knows this is a crucial and pressing issue academics have described climate change as the perfect problem to paralyse individuals, we need to focus on solving individual’s problems at a level where fighting climate change is bundled into the benefits. Unfortunately melting ice caps alone may not be enough to inspire action at an individual level. Being more practical though, helping reduce increasing energy bills may motivate individuals enough to act thus tackling the climate change issue as a side effect. Whilst it may not be a popular notion, it certainly is more pragmatic that we should appeal to peoples self interests if we truly want to drive behaviour change.
In conclusion a modern approach to responsibility in business is about much more than a sustainability policy or code of ethics. We need to build an awareness of products, people, and planet into our daily operation practices in order to make responsibility a habit that sticks at both a corporate and consumer level.
Article by Rory Wilding