Businesses are now understanding that they should be more transparent, especially if they want to be a sustainable business. Whether this transparency includes a list or map of which suppliers they get their materials from or how they are performing with regards to their sustainability strategy - the more information the better.
As consumers, we should know the details behind the brand. The more we know the more we are able to hold businesses accountable for remediating any problems (for example, abuse at a supplier location) and creating actionable targets for improvement.
Transparency is also important because if a business reports their sustainability targets, for instance, then the public is able to scrutinise their methodologies and their roadmaps. This allows ethical consumers to ask for more ambition from companies, or more evidence-based target making, like with the Science-Based Targets Initiative.
As ethical consumers - or just as regular consumers - we should be asking for regular sustainability reports from companies. These reports include essential information on everything that went down in that business over the last year and demonstrate with evidence, the progress (or lack thereof) that companies have made.
We should be more involved as consumers but it shouldn’t always be up to us to ask for more transparency on the part of businesses. When a brand is transparent, that allows us to have more difficult conversations with them. It means that we are more able to engage in helping them improve. Ethical consumers can influence the sustainability of our favourite businesses and brands by harnessing the information that they provide us with. The more green consumers use the wherefrom platform to demand that brands be more transparent or to comment on specific issues that they have (eg. through the Tell the CEO element of the reviewing stream), the more brands will be pressured into answering our demands. This doesn’t always have to come in the form of negative feedback. If a brand is totally transparent and we want to tell them that we’re happy that they’re being so candid and so clear, we can use the wherefrom platform to tell them that too. All in all, transparency is important because we are more able to participate in the functioning and value chain sustainability of the businesses that we buy from.