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How are responsible initiatives driving future business growth?

In today’s hyper-connected world, in the days of 24-hour news cycles and feverish social media discussion, power has shifted from the some to the many.

In this new era of increased examination and enquiry, building a business must be about more than simply increased revenue and profits. These objectives must be met with commitments to social responsibly and sustainability as well.

As part of the launch of our Responsible Growth campaign, we at Ricoh commissioned research from YouGov, which examined the current relationship between businesses and the public.

The research revealed a marked disconnect, with just 1 in every 5 people (20 per cent) saying they believe the majority of businesses operate in a responsible way.

“Just 1 in every 5 people… believe the majority of businesses operate in a responsible way”

Every business leader knows that the public perception of their organisation matters. An organisation which is perceived in a negative light will inevitably invite further scrutiny of its operations and could lose customers and partners if it cannot rectify this image. Customers, partners and employees seek action instead of talk about the aspirations of an ethical business.

When asked what marks a responsible business, workers cited treating employees well, paying the right amount of tax and reducing their impact on the environment. Achieving these beacons of responsible business will not only improve firms’ relationships with their staff, it can improve brand reputation with customers and the public.

Our research also shows that over half of workers (52 per cent) said they are much more likely to buy from companies that act in a responsible way, even when compared to cheaper competitors.

Businesses can no longer compete on pricing and service delivery alone, and there are genuine sales-related considerations to be taken into account when pursuing more responsible growth initiatives.

“Customers, partners and employees seek action instead of talk about the aspirations of an ethical business”

Furthermore, businesses with a strong, ethical mission statement and commitments to responsible growth will deliver better working practices and more profitability. Business leaders must recognise that the digital revolution has delivered a shift of power away from the senior leaders and to the individual, where every viewpoint counts.

The time is now for businesses to step up and show how they can do more than simply make money – and to achieve this real business change, there must be buy-in from the very top of the organisation. A responsible business needs a responsible leader.

With responsible growth identified as the strategy for sustainable success, the sooner CEOs embrace these initiatives, the better.

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