A new report by The Hartman Group, Bellevue, Wash., reveals consumers want more information about a company’s economic, social and environmental practices — and the more the better. While information about practices directly connected to the product or service is most essential, consumers are also interested in broader corporate practices.
According to the report, “Sustainability 2017: Connecting Benefits With Values Through Purposeful Consumption,” nearly 70% of the 1,500 U.S. adult consumers surveyed expressed a desire for more transparency from companies about their sustainability practices.
When it comes to communicating transparency, it is not about the quantity of the information; it’s about the quality of the information. It is also the content of the information and the manner in which it is given. Consumers evaluate a company’s transparency in terms of access to its values, policies and practices and the openness of communication between a company and its customers.
“Consumers associate transparency with how authentically committed a company is to ethical action,” says Laurie Demeritt, chief executive officer. “Most consumers, 73% of those surveyed in our new report, understand what transparency means when it comes to business practices.”
Here are the Top 10 most transparent companies, according to consumers surveyed:
- Whole Foods Market
“Transparency is more than enabling a moral evaluation of trustworthiness for brands; it is a way for companies to reveal details about production and sourcing that enable consumers to find higher-quality distinctions otherwise concealed in conventionally marketed branded commodities,” says Demeritt.
Sustainability 2017 tracks and investigates how consumers understand, prioritize and connect four zones of responsibility (personal, social, environmental and economical), exploring differences between consumer demand for and actual purchasing of sustainable products and attitudes toward corporate transparency issues. The report updates understandings of their evolving attitudes, behaviors and aspirations regarding sustainability, including category adoption and the ways in which sustainability and transparency concepts manifest in consumer discourse.