Where the responsibility lies in overconsumption is ambiguous. We are in a dizzying back and forth between focusing on consumers, for buying and then businesses, for offering products/services. Consumers, for demanding things to cost less and then businesses, for putting pressure on overseas labour to produce as cheaply as possible… which makes way for human rights abuse. Because some people are just trying to survive, and others are trying to profit as much as humanly possible.
We have the problem of a gigantic attitude-behaviour gap. The majority of us favour brands that do good in the world, but not enough of us buy from them and instead favour the conglomerates who replace kindness with a lower price tag, convenience and ‘hype’. It is cheap on the surface, but the genuine cost is harrowing. Despite our knowledge of this, the urge we feel from being submerged in aspirational-marketing is too strong, so we buy into a celebrity-fuelled culture of abundance. How can we blame individuals for having their psychology manipulated against them by marketers?
We recently joined the B-Corp network which is forging a movement of businesses putting people and planetary care back to the top of priorities. However, we still need a legal framework that transforms this from being optional, to mandatory.
That’s where the Better Business Act comes in. It formed as an address to ‘Build Back Better’. The phrase was being used so much but they asked; ‘What does this actually mean?’ so it could actually be tangible, actionable… and REAL in the lives of the many. We have a huge opportunity for the pandemic not to be entirely in vain, by using this pinnacle turning point to reset the foundations of business.
The Better Business Act is a new contract between business and society. It is made up of 4 amendments to the existing Companies Act 2006 to ensure all companies in the UK, big or small, take legal responsibility for benefitting workers, communities, customers and the natural environment whilst endeavouring to deliver profit for shareholders. In the wake of COP26 in Glasgow, this seems like a ‘no brainer’ - as a piece of legislation it would empower and incentivise company directors to make more inclusive decisions and be less susceptible to manipulation. It no longer makes regenerative practice optional, but the default.
Business is moving in this direction, but not fast enough. The act is unifying people – a coalition of conscious customers, communities, business owners, industry experts & parliamentary champions - in a clear and shared vision.
Clare and the Prickly Team