Just as we label packaged goods and list fat, sugar, vitamin etc content, it’s we offered similar labeling for businesses. With an appropriate label consumers could select a business not only on the product range and price but also on arguably more important criteria. We’d need to agree on a common measure of value which works for big and small businesses and which uses measurements which consumers can quickly understand. I’d be proposing value measurements of:
Local value. Based on number of local employees, proximity of major shareholders to local community, local involvement, local source of products sold. Economic footprint. A measure of the business economic footprint on a community’s economic development. This would take into account an employees/sales ratio. Environmental footprint. A measure of the impact the business has on the environment. Social responsibility index. A measure indicating what the business puts back into the community, local and beyond.
Just as we focus on obesity today and read labels more carefully as a result of this focus, we ought to focus on the social and economic value of businesses.
I am sure there are other measures which could be added. They need to be easily understood and that a business could not easily ‘fudge’ the figures. This list is a start. Good measurements will drive me to one business over another, how could it not?
A business doing more for the local economy and operating in an environmentally sustainable way is of more interest to me than a business shipping profits overseas and putting profit above social responsibility.