It was clear throughout the SOCAP09 Conference that not only are new business models and financial tools emerging to achieve social impact, but there are also disruptive innovations and creative destruction of the existing business models. There was much talk of real value in the triple bottom line model. This is where a business measures social impact and environmental impact alongside profits.
Customers are now looking at how a company manages ALL levels of their business and supply chain. Sustainable business now provides a strategy on how to last for the long term. Consumers have a greater demand and expectation for companies to be transparent in their social and environmental impact. And, consumers have more tools (social media in particular) at their disposal to organize and communicate their happiness and disappointment. A new generation of social action is emerging with the use of these tools, that work to influence the behaviors of businesses towards this new way of thinking...check out Carrot Mob.
Customer dissatisfaction is best dealt with in an honest and transparent way. Corporations who show a willingness to address any issues that may have social or environmental consequences in an honest and open way, are more likely to retain their customers and gain their trust.
But more importantly, corporations who operate at a large scale both nationally and globally have the opportunity to create greater positive social impact with just a tweak of their supply chain or business model. And this is the real opportunity for the social sector to explore.