By Matias Bendersky, Unit Chief, Partnerships and Resource Mobilization Unit, Inter-American Development Bank
Brands today face increasing expectations from ever more Empowered Consumers who hold businesses to higher standards than ever before. This Empowered Consumer is driven by values—she looks beyond affordability and quality to brands’ impact on individuals, communities, and societies. She is informed—she has access to more information than has ever been available, and has the ability to cultivate a deeper knowledge of companies’ operations and the footprint they leave behind. She is connected—she lives in an age in which more than a billion tweets, Facebook posts, and blog updates are published daily, and can instantly voice her satisfaction—or lack thereof—with brands who operate in unsustainable ways. And she has the power to be selective—she has access to as many as 140,000 products at today’s largest megastore, and can take business away from those that fail to operate sustainably in favor of those that do.
To thrive in this new context where The Empowered Consumer holds more knowledge and power than ever before, businesses are increasingly looking to integrate sustainability into their operations. Yet while companies have long been in the business of generating profit, generating social and environmental returns comes less naturally, with many struggling to identify how to link social good to their core business, and lacking the capacity to measure their …
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