Today, companies are expected to do more. Customers are interested in their way of doing business and want to know that they support a brand that offers more than just a quality product. It is also important that their work brings positive change. This demand for businesses that care about how they affect people and shape the world and an interest in supporting them has led to an increasing number of companies that emphasize their values in their marketing approach. Women in Adria provides an answer to how to recognize socially responsible companies and which Croatian companies operate in accordance with their purpose.
What does operating in accordance with your purpose mean for companies?
Companies with a strong purpose carefully choose partners, build a positive company culture for their employees, and are often involved in some form of activism. With their actions and influence, they aim to be part of the change towards a better and healthier world. That is why they choose partners who share similar values. They also pay great attention to interpersonal relationships that are nurtured within the company, the way employees are treated, and their contribution to the company. Through activism, companies aim to help marginalized people or get involved in important ecological problems.
Company actions are important to customers. They will quickly notice that the promises made in marketing campaigns do not match the company's actions. If they notice that you are not working in line with what you state in your advertisements and promotional materials, customers lose trust and refuse to support your work - especially if they have an alternative. Through a quick search on the search engine, customers can find out all about companies. "About 20 years ago, the internet was in its infancy, there were no checks like there are today, I mean easily accessible data. Today, however, terms such as ESG (environmental protection, social responsibility, and governance), CSR (corporate social responsibility), and the like are used," said Vedrana Perković-Hadl.
Being selective about business partners is a luxury
Acting in accordance with your purpose is a privilege for many Croatian entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship also requires working with people you necessarily have to agree with, as well as many compromises. "I'm not sure there is such a company in Croatia that can choose its business partners," said Vedrana Perković-Hadl.
Being selective when choosing partners or clients is not possible for every company, especially if it is in the early stages of operation, although it is precisely then that it is most important to build good foundations consisting of values and purpose behind which they will stand in their further work.
Croatian companies that operate in accordance with their values
We highlight three socially responsible Croatian companies that put their purpose and values first.
Biovega, a company that sells organic products, is committed to positive environmental changes in all areas of its operations. Within Biovega, the Makronova project has been developed to educate about consumer personal responsibility and ecology.
SmartWay d.o.o. helps people to intelligently manage their energy consumption through their innovative solutions and technologies. Their goal is to reduce energy waste and promote sustainable practices, ultimately contributing to a healthier environment. They believe that their business should have a positive impact on society and strive to achieve that through their work.
Microedra Ltd, a company specializing in products for parents (such as child car seats), is also a Croatian company that carefully selects its partners and materials. Neda Zubović Mihaljević gave a small insight into the company's work: "We only sell products that I consider purposeful. I have refused many suppliers - especially those who undermine breastfeeding, copy, pile up plastic, falsely represent quality, etc. I have refused collaborations with big influencers because they wanted to use products in a way that is not safe for their children. Because of this, we definitely earn less, but on the other hand, we sleep more peacefully, and people often tell us that they have recognized our dedication and consistency, and therefore they trust us. That is priceless to me."
Working in alignment with your purpose brings us peace
Acting in a way that does not conflict with what is important to you also brings inner peace. The work of the company does not cause discomfort or create unnecessary stress.
"I also have a strong purpose and live through work and activism in line with it. I have also chosen cooperators, but that process took some time because in the beginning, sometimes due to poor judgment and sometimes due to financial impossibility, I chose wrong clients and wrong cooperators who are far from the values I live and are not in line with my purpose. But over time, my own values and purpose have become something that is not worth deviating from because ultimately, it is not good for me. I also act in private in the same way. I end relationships when I see that they do not reflect my values. Life goes by quickly, and it is not worth deviating from them. However, holding on to purpose through work and privately brings peace. And that's what I love most every day. I am not a big or famous company. My actions are not visible, but that doesn't matter. It makes me happy, and working in silence often has significant results. Purpose must always follow what we think, say, and do," concludes Iva Tominović Matas.