Abridged excerpt from book “51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship“.
Informed Consumer – LOHAS
With the shifts in the workforce and a broader shift in creative problem-solving, we are also entering the age of the informed consumer. That’s someone who creates individual impact through his or her purchases and collectively can impact entire industries.
There is actually a name for this buying market,: it is Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, also known as LOHAS. If you can believe it, LOHAS commands a $546 billion market globally! The LOHAS market, in turn, inspires founders to launch better mission-oriented ventures and companies to more effectively pursue sustainability and impact measures.
Okay, so whether you consider yourself a card-carrying member of the LOHAS community or are just getting started with adopting the mindset of ‘voting’ with your purchases, there are a few concrete ways you can become a more informed consumer.
1) Check for seals and certifications
There are a growing number of seals and certifications that can denote a company’s commitment to impact. We talked about these earlier. They aren’t just a tool for social enterprises to stand out from the crowd; they’re also a way to help all of us as consumers decide (and vote) on products and services that align with our values.
2) Check if the company has an impact report
Another thing you can do to be a more informed consumer is to check if the company has an impact report.
Many companies are becoming more active in corporate social responsibility—CSR. This can involve releasing an annual report that accounts for their impact through various measures such as charitable giving, reduction of waste, and how their sustainability decisions impact the country’s supply chain.You can check the company website and also take a look at directories such as The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and CSRWire.
This is an abridged excerpt from the book, “51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship” by Neetal Parekh. You can learn more and buy the entire book—which is told as a story of three aspiring social entrepreneurs and which dives into key aspects of social entrepreneurship including defining the space, legal structures, securing funding, and measuring impact at 51questions.com