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 software company on a even footing with Microsoft and others with whom I compete. Prospects could make a decision on more than price alone.
I first posed the idea of businesses including a label like this at their front door in October last year.