Companies will increasingly be involved in ‘impact’ investing as they work to build loyalty among socially conscious millennial customers and prospective employees, according to Crescent Enterprises CEO Badr Jafar.
Speaking to Arabian Business, Jafar said that rules and regulations and “people’s recognition of the right thing to do” may not be the most effective way of getting companies to adapt to new models in which beneficial social or environmental impact are factored in alongside financial returns.
Ultimately, he said, companies will likely see that social responsibility makes business sense because “that is what key stakeholders demand.”
“By key stakeholders, I specifically mean the youth,” he said. “They are not just our customers, but also our employees. Millennials are far more conscious about broader impact [generated by] the companies they are working in and behind the products they’re buying.”
Jafar’s Crescent Enterprises is involved in a number of ‘impact’ ventures, including a high-tech, sensor-equipped line of clothing designed for blue-collar workers working in the heat of the Arabian Gulf.
Additionally, Jafar said that in many cases, social impact and brand values are the deciding factor for prospective employees choosing between two employers with similar packages.
“Especially when you think about a transient workforce…loyalty today will only be generated through those means. [It is about] loyalty to what your brand is and the power of your brand, but more about what your brand and company stands for,” he said. “If you’re able to retain talent, you’re fare more likely to generate value.”
Jafar added that when it comes to recruitment, brand values “are more powerful as a value proposition to prospective employees than just ‘here are your benefits’.
Statistics from a 2015 Nielsen report revealed that 73 percent of global millennials are willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings, up from 50 percent in 2014.
Another study, from US-based Cone Communications, found that 9 in 10 millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause.
The same study noted that millennials “prepared to make personal sacrifices to make an impact on issues they care about, whether that’s paying more for a product, sharing products rather than buying, or taking a pay cut to work for a responsible company.”For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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