Doing good can make you money, according to the founder of a small Grey Lynn company recently identified as one of the most ethical in the world.
Banana distributor and soft drink maker All Good Organics has become the first New Zealand inclusion on the World’s Most Ethical Companies list, or WME.
Household names like Ford, Marks & Spencer, Whole Foods, Pepsi and Kellogg are also on the list.
The corporate social responsibility think tank Etisphere Institute audits the ethical codes, corporate citizenship, and sustainable practices of nominated companies to compile the annual list.
All Good co-founder Chris Morrison says the listing proves that a successful business can also be good to its supplier, customers and environment.
“You can make money by being ethical. You have to be aware of the consequences of your decisions,” he says.
“It’s about transparency and open business – about being true to your consumers and being true to your supply chain all the way through.”
While retailers demand higher quality at lower prices, Mr Morrison said many consumers also want products to be ethically sourced.
He predicts “being ethical will become the norm and others will lose market share”.
Alex Williams, event manager at Auckand’s Sustainable City Showcase, says other Auckland businesses are also following the trend.
Eleven labels took part in the country’s first ethical fashion show at last year’s showcase.
Ethics in fashion, as in other industries, is about “using natural materials, careful recycling, social responsibility, good work conditions and reducing waste”, Mr Williams says.
Like All Good Organics, three of the show’s labels have Fairtrade certification.
Barnaby Luff, operations manager at Fairtrade New Zealand, says the certification is a guarantee of long term contracts, fair pay and community reinvestment in third world countries.
“Fair trade has empowered farmers to make their own decisions,” he says.
He claims Fairtrade is the world’s most recognised certification mark and that most New Zealanders want products to have third party certification.
Fairtrade is not without its critics. Documentary The Bitter Aftertaste has questioned whether workers are better off, and economist Tyler Cowen says price guarantees push down the price of non-certified product.
Mr Morrison says it’s easy to knock certifications, but he has full confidence in the “robust certification” that “benefits small growers” and their workers.
It is central to how he does business, and he would not do business any other way.