Is it time for social responsibility labeling for businesses so we know if they are good for us?


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‚Äôs 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.

    About the author


    I own a software company and a newsagency in Victoria, Australia. You can reach me on +61 418 321 338 or mark[at]

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    By Mark