Photo by Christiann Koepke on Unsplash.

Today’s consumers are well-informed and empowered by the vast amount of information at their fingertips. They are driven by a desire to make ethical choices that reflect their values. These conscious consumers don’t merely buy products; they invest in brands that demonstrate a genuine commitment to ethical practices, encompassing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) responsibilities.

For businesses, this shift signifies that integrating integrity into their core mission and operations is not just beneficial – it’s essential. The stakes are high: failure to adapt can lead to diminished consumer trust, brand damage, and accusations of greenwashing. Conversely, businesses that authentically embody integrity thrive, enjoying enhanced customer loyalty and a robust reputation that can propel long-term success.

The new breed of consumers

The term “conscious consumer” has become increasingly prevalent in our modern lexicon. Defined not only by their purchasing decisions, these consumers seek to impact the community and the planet positively, aligning their consumption with their values.

For these consumers, a brand’s purpose – the core reason it exists beyond making a profit – is crucial. They gravitate towards brands whose purposes align with their aspirations to improve the world, be it through supporting local communities, reducing environmental impacts, or advocating for social justice. The authenticity of brand purpose is often the deciding factor in their purchasing decisions, underscoring the importance for businesses to communicate their missions clearly and honestly.

Trends and Statistics:

Recent findings from the Ipsos’ Global Trends Study 2021, which surveyed people in 25 diverse countries, highlight the growing significance of environmental and ethical considerations in consumer choices1:

Environmental priorities: 63% of respondents emphasized the importance of companies minimizing environmental harm over paying the right amount of taxes. In markets like Colombia, China, and Brazil, this sentiment exceeds 78%, highlighting a robust focus on ecological responsibility.

Brand alignment with personal values: Globally, 70% of participants prefer to buy from brands that reflect their personal values, with exceptionally high agreement in Nigeria (91%), China (86%), and Kenya (85%).

Expectations for corporate leadership: The study also shows a strong global belief that business leaders should actively address social and political issues—a sentiment most pronounced in Nigeria, the Philippines, Singapore, India, Kenya, and South Africa.

This trend illustrates a paradigm shift where modern consumers view businesses as integral players in addressing societal and environmental challenges.

Plastic Bank and Alcon distribute hygiene kits to collection members in Brazil.

Redefining ROI: Return on Integrity

A clearly defined purpose is now necessary, transcending profit-making and reflecting a company’s commitment to positively impacting society and the environment. This commitment to purpose sends a potent message about the kind of business you are and the values you uphold.

“Return on Integrity” extends the traditional concept of return on investment to highlight the tangible and intangible benefits of operating with integrity. This approach redefines how success is measured, focusing not only on financial returns but also on the positive impact the business is making on the planet and people. Businesses that delivers on its purpose experience multiple forms of return, including:

Market differentiation: Integrity is a key differentiator in competitive markets. Consumers increasingly favor brands that positively impact the planet and communities2

Enhanced brand reputation: A strong reputation for integrity can significantly elevate a company’s standing in the market, attracting more customers and valuable partnerships2.

Attractiveness to investors: Integrity makes a company more attractive to investors, particularly those focused on ESG criteria, potentially leading to increased funding opportunities3.

Operational efficiency: Ethical operations reduce the risk of legal and regulatory issues, and companies prioritizing sustainability are better prepared for future regulations, ensuring long-term viability and efficiency3.

Employee engagement and retention: Companies committed to integrity foster a positive work environment, enhancing employee morale and reducing turnover rates.4.

Collection community members in Brazil who have successfully graduated from Plastic Bank’s computer course.

Enhancing business integrity through strategic partnerships

In industries that impact social and environmental issues, such as waste management and sustainability, the challenge for businesses is not only to commit to ethical practices but to demonstrate these commitments tangibly. Partnering with organizations like Plastic Bank can be transformative.

Plastic Bank is a social fintech that helps end poverty and stops plastic pollution by turning plastic waste into money. Collection communities collect and exchange the material for income and social benefits, including health, work and life insurance, digital connectivity, grocery vouchers, school supplies, fintech services, and more. It collaborates with globally recognized brands such as Henkel, SC Johnson, and Coca-Cola, assisting them in meeting and exceeding their ESG compliance by supporting collection communities, protecting our beautiful shorelines, and helping end poverty.

Companies that partner with Plastic Bank not only align themselves with sustainable practices and social innovation but also significantly boost their brand reputation. Plastic Bank’s proprietary blockchain platform ensures that all transactions are transparent and accountable, providing real-time impact reporting. This level of transparency builds trust and credibility, further elevating a brand’s reputation in the eyes of consumers and stakeholders.

If you’re interested in exploring how your business can participate in these impactful initiatives, get in touch with a Plastic Bank representative today. Learn more about how to make a significant difference in environmental sustainability and social responsibility.

  1. “Global Trends 2021: Aftershocks and continuity,” IPSOS, November 2, 2021, 
  2. “What is Brand Integrity and Why Is It Essential?” For the Win Digital, 
  3. Kezia Farnham, “Business integrity: What does it mean, and why does it matter?” Diligent, June 3, 2021 
  4. Kevin Briscoe, “Integrity in Business – A Priceless Essential for Success,” CFO Selections, August 20, 2019, 

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