Social Responsibility Toward Consumers

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Producing energy from alternative sources is an example of a socially responsible practice.
Producing energy from alternative sources is an example of a socially responsible practice. (Image: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

In a 2004 survey that the Economist Intelligence Unit conducted, 85 percent of executives and investors surveyed said corporate responsibility was an "important" consideration in investment decisions. Moreover, 84 percent felt corporate responsibility practices could help a company's bottom line. The main thrust of social responsibility, no matter what kind, is the public's welfare -- an entity's greater responsibility toward consumers.

Social Responsibility by Governments

State institutions often promote social responsibility. Governments provide business developers with resources so that new business establishments are created, with members of the public getting involved in production. The production is for the benefit of people in the areas where the business is developed. Thus, unemployment is reduced. An example is Eastern Europe, where governments provided business organizations with state-owned land, so that new factories and production centers could be established for the benefit of areas with economic problems.

Social Responsibility and Legislation

Social responsibility toward consumers is in state legislation that controls the commercial relationship between businesses and the public. An example is the Unfair Terms Act in the United Kingdom. The act is mainly focused on barring businesses from taking advantage of contracts they have with customers and benefiting unreasonably from them. For example, banks are barred from imposing unreasonably high fees on customers who are late with mortgage payments. This is how legislation prevents customers from experiencing hardship from business organizations.

Competition

Social responsibility promotes fair competition and is thus vital for consumer choice. For example, if a company steals the technology used in the products of another rival organization, then it deprives customers from a fair choice, because it offers something that belongs to a different organization. For instance, Sony was barred from importing PlayStation consoles in the Netherlands after a court ruling determined that the company had unlawfully incorporated Blu-ray technology in its devices, which belonged to LG. Thus Sony did not support the fair competition rules and attracted many customers through deceptive approaches.

Indirect Social Responsibility

Social responsibility toward consumers may come as an indirect result of business practice. For example, companies that produce energy through alternative means benefit from the production, while they sell the energy on the electric grid. However, customers of these companies also benefit from cheaper electrical energy, and the general public lives in a greener environment.

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