With monthly press releases, DFGE – the Institute for Energy, Ecology and Economy – presents checklists aiming at improving sustainability management. After having focused on the program and environmental, labor practices and human rights, community involvement improvement, DFGE now consolidates a checklist on how to sustainably manage consumer issues.
Greifenberg/Munich, 10 January 2016 – DFGE – Institute for Energy, Ecology and Economy – was founded in 1999 as a spin-off the Technical University of Munich and offers complete consulting, software and audit solutions in the field of sustainability. DFGE partners with internationally-recognized reporting frameworks to better support companies in their sustainability management and reporting. DFGE has launched in May 2016 a series of press releases composed of checklists organizations can use to improve the quality of their CSR program. The 6th checklist list focuses on the stakeholder customer.
1 – Is the program structured?
Customers are one of the stakeholders of a company. Stakeholders is defined as any impacted party. More precisely, according to the ISO 26 000 standard, “Organizations that provide products and services to consumers, as well as other customers, have responsibilities to those consumers and customers. Responsibilities include providing education and accurate information, using fair, transparent and helpful marketing information and contractual processes, promoting sustainable consumption and designing products and services that provide access to all and cater, where appropriate, for the vulnerable and disadvantaged.“
Below you can check if the program is well structured:
- Are there targets on customer management Are they followed by KPIs and reviewed?
- Is the management engaged on the full range of topics?
- Is there a mechanism (Customer Relationship Management) to interact with the customers?
- Do you communicate your successes?
- Have you identified the relevant topics according to your sector?
Any organization interacting with customers or service recipients should consider the following topics.
2 – How does your organization ensures Fair Marketing?
“Fair marketing, factual and unbiased information and fair contractual practices provide information about products and services in a manner that can be understood by consumers.” (ISO 26 000). Fair marketing enable customers to compare products, avoid misunderstanding due to misinformation and enhance customer satisfaction.
- Are there quality processes in place regarding marketing and communication?
- Does the organization disclose all relevant information (price, tax, terms, conditions, delivery costs…)?
- Is there a process to deal with claims?
- Does the organization consider vulnerable populations when drafting marketing and communication?
- Does the organization avoid using text, audio or images that perpetuate stereotyping in regard to, for example, gender, religion, race, disability or personal relationships?
- Has accurate and complete information been provided, also in various languages?
- Does the organizazion use contracts that are understandable, do not include unfair contract terms and provide enough information about all relevant topics (price etc)?
3 – Is there a process to customer’s health and safety?
“Protecting consumers’ health and safety involves the provision of products and services that are safe and that do not carry unacceptable risk of harm when used or consumed. “(ISO 26 000).
- Are laws and regulations about product safety complied with?
- Are the customers informed about the health and safety risks? Are they instructed on how to properly handle the products?
- Has the company set a collection process to retrieve products in case of unforeseen hazard?
- Does the organization avoid the use of harmful chemicals?
- Is there a process in product development to identify hazards and manage them?
4 – Does your organization promote Sustainable Consumption?
Sustainable consumption and production (SCP) is about the use of services and related products, which respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life while minimizing the use of natural resources and toxic materials as well as the emissions of waste and pollutants over the lifecycle of the service or product so as not to jeopardize the needs of further generations”. (Sustainable Development Goals). Sustainable consumption can save resources, avoid costs and represents an opportunity to address new market demands.
- Has the company offered socially and environmental-friendly products?
- Are products designed to be easy to reused/repaired/recycled or eco-efficient?
- Are customers informed on the conditions of production?
- Are the products and services labeled?
5 – Is there a customer service management program in place?
“Consumer service, support, and complaint and dispute resolution are the mechanisms an organization uses to address the needs of consumers after products and services are bought or provided.“ (ISO 26 000) Such mechanisms can be seen as a way to increase customer satisfaction.
- Has the company set a process to return products?
- Is there a system to report complaints?
- Has the company offered warranties?
- Are customers informed on how they can access such services?
- Is the staff trained on how to deal with customers’ complaints?
- Is there a dedicated customer quality management system?
6 – Does your organization protect customer data and customer privacy?
“Consumer data protection and privacy are intended to safeguard consumers’ rights of privacy by limiting the types of information gathered and the ways in which such information is obtained, used and secured.” (ISO 26 000) It is key to address such topic to avoid data breaches and losses and also to preserve brand reputation.
- Have you specified the purpose for which data are collected?
- Have you limited the collection of data?
- Is there a rule forbidding to use or disclose data without customer approval?
- Can customers check if data are true?
- Are IT rules implemented to protect data and access such as (password changes, access rules, no printing of unnecessary information, safe storage…)
Customers are a key stakeholder, for companies but also for any organization. In this case, customer can be understood as service recipient. Organizations are encouraged to review the topics listed above to check whether they apply to them, and how they can implement them into their CSR framework.
If you also want to read the recent 5 check lists – please see
- No 1 – A checklist to easily improve sustainability programs
- No 2 – A checklist to easily improve your environmental program
- No 3 – A checklist to easily improve labor practices
- No 4 – A checklist to improve respect to human rights
- No 5 – A checklist to easily improve community program
DFGE – institute for energy, ecology and economy – was founded in 1999 as spin-off of the Technical University of Munich and offers complete consulting, software and audit solutions in the field of CSR. Our offer SustainabilityIntelligence features management and reporting solutions related to CSR and sustainability topics (among them being greenhouse gas emissions), and refers to international norms in this field. Our clients comprise international companies (DAX and fortune 500), SMEs, governmental organizations or territorial authorities. For more information, contact us: or visit our website www.dfge.de
The DFGE disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of the given information. All opinions and estimates included in this report constitute DFGE’s judgment as of the date of this report and are subject to change without notice. DFGE shall have no liability for errors, omissions, or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
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