Hand in hand with the “go green” movement, the “responsibility revolution” is changing the way Americans shop. Everyone from the companies that supply your parts and materials to the end product consumer is watching how corporations use resources and interact — with the local community and the world at large. Ethical consumerism is on the rise and savvy business owners are paying attention.

An outgrowth of our raised consciousness about the interrelationship of environmental systems, people are paying more attention to how companies are interacting socially with their environment. It’s not enough these days to decrease your carbon footprint and lower your energy consumption, people expect a certain level of social responsibility from the companies they buy from and invest in. The marketplace is replete with examples of companies that have suffered for their lack of social consciousness. Nike attacked for unfair overseas labor practices. Wal-Mart boycotted for unfair labor practices at home. Rabid consumer groups have been quick to call attention to practices they find unethical, tarnishing corporate reputations, forcing management changes and even putting companies out of business.

Smart┬ácorporations are working to demonstrate to consumers that they care about the planet and the people they share it with. Implementing a strong ergonomic program and switching to ergonomic equipment that protects the health and safety of your workers is one immediate step companies can take to show their concern for others. Many Americans are looking for improvement and changes in their own back yards. Using local suppliers, contracting with local transport firms, supporting local events and charities, improving the lives of the people you hire — both on the job and off — these actions speak louder than words. They show people that you are a responsible corporate partner in their community and an asset in their daily lives.