The Need for Transparency

I just returned from a “distance learning” trip to New York City with UGA’s Grady College, and I’m still buzzing about all the amazing businesses we visited.

One advertising agency I had the pleasure of touring was The Moderns. We were lucky enough to get a presentation by the founder of the agency, and she talked a lot about how more companies are taking on more social responsibility. The term she used was the “triple bottom line.” Corporations are accepting responsibility for their environmental, social, and economic footprints.

She used a case study on Chipotle to explain this. Chipotle used to say they were environmentally responsible. Someone found out that maybe this wasn’t entirely true and called them out on it.

How to save face? Rehaul the business model.

Now Chipotle is positioned as environmentally responsible, and the really are.

Have you been recently? Many locations aren’t selling carnitas because they can’t find enough responsibly raised pork. That’s a brave decision.

While I admire Chipotle for their transformation, I think it’s important to look at the factors that led to that decision.

The internet makes an incredible amount of information available to a huge number of people, and it gives everyone a voice. Since anyone can do research on companies and publicly call them out for bad business practices, it makes since that, eventually, someone will.

Business are becoming more transparent because people will find out their secrets whether they want it to be made public or not, and it looks better if they don’t try to cover it up.

Businesses are taking more responsibility because the public are holding them accountable. We finally have the means to hold them accountable. It’s no longer a choice but a necessity.

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