Label businesses for social responsibility


SRR3.JPGIt was disappointing to hear that Qantas is working on shifting more work overseas in the name of profit. It’s as bad as Australia Post now sourcing much of what they sell from China. These profits are coming at a cost to Australia which will not be measured for years to come. A year ago in this place I floated the idea of establishing a Social Responsibility Index for business. If it’s good enough for food, surely it’s good enough for the country. A Social Responsibility Index could take into account, for example, Qantas moving jobs offshore and rate them accordingly. Here’s what I said earlier about this:

I’d like to see a social responsibility index established to allow consumers to compare businesses. It is a point of difference more important that price yet it won’t matter until it is too late for many small businesses. Small businesses can compete with the chain stores by being actively socially responsible and using a rating system (like my idea above) to rate their performance against four key criteria. The better we in small business educate consumers about the difference our businesses make compared to others the sooner we can achieve some traction to counter massive advertising budgets. I see such a rating system as a practical step towards greater social responsibility for all businesses. While some tout their businesses as socially responsible, the lack of a transparent measure means that consumers can only go marketing noise and too often this is more hype than substance.

A responsible government would implement something along the lines of the ratings I suggest and provide consumers with a trusted measure. It would put my small businesses on an even footing with big business and demonstrate the difference of the pursuit of a higher share price versus the goals of small business proprietors.

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