Every so often businesses using underhand tactics in order to cover something up or cut costs and remain profitable comes to light and the press and world jumps all over it. While doing this may result in short term gains in the long run it can have majorly damaging effects. Once these negative tactics are exposed and revealed to the public, it can be disastrous for a business. Playing with consumer trust is a highly risky game after all.
We only have to look at last year, when it was revealed that German Car Manufacturer Volkswagen fitted in a device in over 11 million cars which could detect when a car was being tested and would alter vehicle performance in order to pass the test.
The accusation emerged following tests by American scientists when they realized that the car would perform differently in a test scenario as opposed to being driven on the roads. Volkswagen later came clean about the devices and received hefty fines from the US government. They set aside £5.2 billion in order to cover the cost of the scandal with around £700 million for customer compensation. However, its believed that may not even be enough to cover everything.
With all this talk of businesses following unethical practices it's refreshing to know a large number of organizations follow best practice in order to build ethical and sustainable businesses. Brands which aim to put their consumers first and offer a degree of honesty and transparency tend to rise in popularity and develop long term success.
An example would be Whole Foods, the organic food chain with over 430 stores across the US and UK. They pride themselves on selling fresh quality fruit and vegetables, sustainable, natural and economic products. Whole Foods prides itself on being open with their customers by giving as much information about their products in order to fully cater to the range of customers they have.
Although Whole Foods isn’t the first or only company to practice these kind of values, it goes to show that companies shouldn’t have to take underhand measures in order to stay profitable. Promoting the values of being honest and transparent will build consumer trust.
Now more and more companies that may have been exposed in the past for using unethical practices are trying to keep their public image by being more transparent with the public.
A few years ago a video surfaced on the internet within a factory believed to be a McDonalds manufacturing line showing a pink slime like substance which would be shaped then cooked in order to resemble a beef burger. Following this, McDonalds began to come under scrutiny, so they invited cameras into their factories to show that they use real meat and began an advertising push to showcase it.
With the daunting prospect of global warming, animals becoming extinct and the need to recycle there is more pressure amongst companies to provide ethical and sustainable products. Recently G-Star launched its ‘RawfortheOceans’ range, which are clothes created from plastics recycled from the ocean.
H&M have launched their ‘Conscious’ range where they are pledging to make strides in order become more ethical and promote the reuse and recycling of their clothes.
This trend of being transparent and promoting sustainable and ethical values is only set to continue in the next few years. With an increasing amount of consumers becoming aware of the products they’re purchasing there is a far greater need to deliver quality products that are ethical and sustainable. So folks, if you're ever thinking of cutting corners in the future, remember, all most all of the time honesty truly is the best policy.