BUSINESSES risk alienating consumers by unknowingly harming the environment and animals, according to Communicate31.

Managing director Clare Mann (pictured) says business leaders are unaware of their company’s eco-footprint from a lack of understanding and believing it’s irrelevant.

“A lot of people think that if they are not in a particular industry like food, farming or testing, that it doesn’t really affect them.

“But with 80 per cent of decisions made in Federal Parliament affecting animals and the public’s awareness that not all animals are treated like our cats and dogs, it seems to me that it’s a topic that is very worthy for boardroom discussion,” she says.

The emergence of social media and ease of sharing information has pushed ethical behaviour into the forefront of consumer’s minds.

“Nobody wants to work for an organisation that abuses people, trashes the environment or is cruel to animals and nor do people want to buy from those organisations.

“We have to look at supply chain and consider that although we may not do things directly, where do our suppliers and ingredients come from? Because you could be caught in a costly and damaging situation.

“Businesses all need to be aware, even if they aren’t directly involved, that sooner or later this will come to affect them – if they can be ahead of the game, they’re much better off.”

The communications company is hosting a series of events in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, to educate more than 600 CEOs and executives about the issue.

Animal Matters features talks by former Citibank vice president and social justice advocate Philip Wollen, Fry’s Foods founder and director Wally Fry and major sponsor Nespresso.

“Animal Matters is a series of educational, entertaining and informative events that inform business Australia about the industrial use of animals in society, but most importantly the implications for their businesses.

“We are inviting them to take part in a half day or full day schedule and take the time to see that this should be part of their strategic plan.”

Mann lists professional services company KPMG as an example, saying an office switched from using plastic stirrers to metal spoons for coffee and tea – reducing waste, landfill and the impact on natural habitats.

“An incremental change by an organisation can have a massive effect and that’s why we want decision makers in the room, from corporate executives and SMEs, people who can make a real difference to their employees and consumers.

“Through this event we will have a definite call to action to make it easier for people, they definitely want a solution.

“We are going to be providing them with the tools, strategies and also the platform to come together with other leaders to make a pact and achieve things.”

Mann says the Brisbane event has generated a lot of interest, with a number of large businesses signing up to attend.

Animal Matters will be held at Mercure Brisbane on June 24, guests can apply for complimentary tickets under the events tab on the Communicate31 website.

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