If money talks, what does your spending say about you?

In this Perspective Ben Luckett, Chief Innovation Officer at Aviva, explores how independent trusted accreditations like The Good Shopping Guide Ethical Company Award and Good Business Charter can help give consumers insight into companies' responsible business practices.

In this Perspective Ben Luckett, Chief Innovation Officer at Aviva, explores how independent trusted accreditations like The Good Shopping Guide Ethical Company Award and Good Business Charter can help give consumers insight into companies' responsible business practices.

We all want a brighter future, but it’s not always easy to know what steps we can take to get there.  Choosing where your money goes is one way people can influence the world around them for the better. An independent trusted accreditation, like a kitemark, can give consumers confidence that they are spending their money with businesses committed to doing the right thing for people and the planet.

Coronavirus has focused attention on what is important for our communities. Accenture reports that consumers "have dramatically evolved" and 60% report that they are making more environmentally friendly, sustainable, or ethical purchases since the start of the pandemic. 83% of respondents to an Ipsos survey agree that we are heading for an environmental disaster unless we change our habits quickly, up from 59% in 2013.

In the face of complex issues, it can be hard to see how each of us as individuals can make any difference or whether the purchases we want to make are as ethical as they appear to be. This helps contribute to the so called “Say-Do Gap”, the difference between what people say they are interested in and what they actually do.

Apart from cost, one of the biggest reasons people don’t always follow through on consuming as ethically as they say they want to is a lack of understanding about the labels of particular products, or a lack of trust that claims to sustainable or ethical behaviour stack up.

Businesses have a clear role to play here, and a responsibility to help their customers more easily exercise the choices they say they want. To do this properly it takes businesses to be transparent, and open to being scrutinised by the most demanding accreditations. Endorsements that provide straightforward ratings, rooted in robust research and impartial analysis can greatly contribute to consumer trust.

Aviva’s responsible business approach in the UK has recently been assessed by two independent organisations The Good Shopping Guide and the Good Business Charter.

The Good Shopping Guide Ethical Company Award has been recognising and rewarding ethical companies’ behaviour and practices for the last 20 years. It carries out detailed measurement of up to 25 different ethical criteria, giving an overall rating, with the top-third companies of each sector being eligible to gain their valued accreditation.

The recently established Good Business Charter, reviews good business behaviours, across ten key areas, such as environmental responsibilities, employee wellbeing, paying fair tax and ethical purchasing.

Ultimately both accreditations aim to bring clarity to help consumers make informed ethical purchasing choices.

Aviva successfully gained these accreditations, in recognition of our holistic approach to sustainability. We’re the first major insurer to have attained both The Good Shopping Guide Ethical Company Award and be recognised by the Good Business Charter. A seal of approval from an independent, trusted source can make it far quicker and easier for consumers to spend with confidence and give customers more control over the choices they take.

When the impact of all those individual choices are combined, many small, daily decisions can stack up to make a big difference to the world, both today and for the future.

"The public will increasingly look for ethical and sustainable companies and brands when making their insurance, financial and banking decisions."

Will Sankey, CEO of The Good Shopping Guide believes the demand from customers wanting to understand how ethical a business behaves will continue to grow.

“The public will increasingly look for ethical and sustainable companies and brands when making their insurance, financial and banking decisions. To this aim we are constantly developing our research and Ethical Accreditation Awards, together with new services and public engagement in order to provide more information on sustainable practices and to encourage more companies in this sector to become ethical.”

"Being a responsible business means demonstrating behaviours across a number of important areas."

Jenny Herrera, CEO of The Good Business Foundation which runs the Good Business Charter added:

"Being a responsible business means demonstrating behaviours across a number of important areas, and we want to highlight organisations leading the way in their sectors, to encourage others to step up.”

Aviva aims to be the UK’s leading insurer and so we have a responsibility to make sure we live up to our purpose of creating a better tomorrow by demonstrating our positive contribution to society today. It takes trusted, independent ethical accreditations as one important way we can do this.

Sources:

The Sustainability Imperative - Ipsos

Has coronavirus made us more ethical consumers? - BBC News

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