Compliance is demanding on small businesses. The onus is on them to clearly demonstrate that they are working to the correct guidelines around such issues as slavery and human trafficking, health and safety, anti-corruption and information security.

This feels like a lot of red tape, and it might seem too demanding on your time when you’ve got core business activities, along with your marketing and other admin, to cope with.

However, these standards exist for good reasons, and being able to show you meet them is something you can use to enhance and differentiate your brand.

The Importance of Social Value

People’s values, moral and ethical, increasingly drive their purchasing decisions. Social value has an impact on the bottom line of many businesses. Capitalism is no longer a purely market-led system.

At the same time, brands are vulnerable to bad publicity, and the way news spreads through social media can leave them extremely exposed.

Examining what it refers to as supertrends, Credit Suisse has highlighted the significance of millennials as both investors and consumers.

It sees millennials as digital natives disrupting traditional models and re-defining consumption. One key element of this is how they value social equity. Millennials are more likely than previous generations to embrace sustainability and to value personal development over financial benefits.

Millennials increasingly express this uniqueness of perspective in how they buy into brands. This may mean that if a brand’s social values do not fit in with their own, they are more likely to reject it.

You might think you’re defending and maintaining your brand’s moral values, but what about the values of your suppliers? If they are found wanting, and someone makes the connection between them and you, what will this do to your business’s social value?

How Do You Ensure Supply Chain Transparency?

As a small business, you may feel you have little control over your supplier’s supply chain.

But the key is to demonstrate your own adherence to key values, and to use your terms and conditions to ensure as much transparency as you can when choosing suppliers.

Be compliant and make it your business to know as much as you can about your supply chain, as far down it as you can go.

Beyond that? There’s always going to be a risk, but risk is like that: you cannot eliminate it, but you can reduce it.

Your social value could be a crucial factor in your business’s success, so you must work at maintaining it by making sure that whatever is in your control stays in your control, and that your customers know it.

Treat the red tape of compliance as a means of establishing your social credentials, a kind of third party recommendation of your brand’s values and your ethical standards.