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Transparency Part 2: Communicating with Transparency

By Alex Berryman

Transparent, Ethical sewing in Nepal

In Transparency Part 1, we explored how a company can know the impact of their product by evaluating its value-chain across the product's lifecycle. In this blog, we will explore how to communicate this impact to your customers so they can know the power of their purchase.

More consumers are demanding their favorite brands to recognize their impact, and this has real-world implications with 73% of consumers stating transparency is more important than the price of a product, and 9 out of 10 consumers stating that they would stop purchasing from a brand that lacks transparency.

Brands have begun to see shifting consumer loyalty toward more transparent alternatives and begun to scramble to become more transparent.

Transparency in worker's rights

How Do You Communicate with Transparency

Make as much information public as you can.

After mapping your value chain (described in our previous blog post) and identifying the strengths and weaknesses in your impact, now it's time to communicate what is going well and how you are working on improving.

When you share your value chain information with your customer, you have an opportunity to build trust with them, openly sharing both your strengths, weaknesses and how you are working to improve. Remember to invite them to join you in the improvement process. Encourage them to see how they, as the consumers, can help to drive demand for improvement by appropriately valuing options that are better for people and the planet, even when they may cost a bit more for buyers.

By stating how you are working on improving aspects of your value chain, your customer can feel a part of the improvement through their support of your brand.

Where to share:

Make supply chain information accessible wherever you communicate with customers (i.e. social media, website, newsletters etc). This will help customers be informed when shopping for your products and understand your commitment to transparency.

  • Websites are the best way to share in-depth details - consider even devoting a whole webpage to your supply chain or social impact

  • Social media is great for sending quick updates on reaching milestones

  • Newsletters can serve as deep dives on how your processes are changing to improve business processes.

What to share:

Location, Work Conditions and Certifications of Manufacturers - sharing your facility location is becoming an industry standard, but still isn't enough. Provide information about the work environments, wages, and the workers’ access to benefits and any certifications the manufacturers hold. This will assure customers their product was made ethically and further improve the industry standard for transparency.

Price Breakdowns - provide product price breakdowns to show how much of the price is going to workers’ wages and how much is being reinvested in the company. This type of transparency is rare so it can set you apart on the market.