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Corporate Responsibility Has Not Gone Away

While it's a constant struggle to turn a profit in this economy, a franchise must remember that its social responsibility still matters hugely to customers.

'Corporate character' has not gone out of vogue. If anything, there is a greater demand for franchises - especially in the food sector -to put an emphasis on transparency and ethics in their business arrangements. It might not always suit a business's bottom line, but when the biggest franchises in the world start to introduce socially-responsible marketing, you know that their motivations aren't purely idealistic. It pays to be socially-responsible as well.

The latest franchise to place a bigger emphasis on social responsibility is Dunkin' Donuts. Not only have they released their first-ever corporate responsibility report called ''Serving Responsibly'', but they've issued new guidelines to back up these new guidelines. According to the report, their hope is to introduce new environmentally-friendly packaging, fair trade coffee, cage-free eggs, green stores, while upscaling their charity work and youth leadership programs.

That this comes against the backdrop of general economic uncertainty should be taken on board. Corporate responsibility was not simply some fad of the good times. Many consumers demand ethical practices from the businesses they support and they'll vote with their wallet every time.

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