How do we calculate the value of a product or service we seek to purchase? Most of us do some sort of price comparisons, gain management analysis or choice framing based product quality, design and other factors. Some of us to this add their brand loyalty. Yet some of us go even further and add sustainability and social responsibility info to their mental calculus.
For this last (and growing) group, JUST provides exactly this information. This organization details six criteria evaluating things like a company's safety, diversity, or worker benefit, with subcriteria like gender equality and animal wellfare.
This is interesting, and not only because it rewards companies with sustainable business practices.
JUST has the potential to deeply upset the established economic model where monetary price is, traditionally, the sole indicator of a good's value. The consequences are huge. Prices of various goods correlate; prices are set as the outcome of a company's various costs (production, operations, distribution, overhead) and profit projections; and prices are an indicator of brand equity and value.
Once all of this becomes not the ultimate, but just one of the ways for companies to set the value of a product, what happens then?
Consumers are already getting there: they actively seek out the corporate business practices information and demand transparency. This means that the ways they make decisions are radically different than in the past, bounded rationality notwithstanding. It also means that economic factors of pricing are going to become critically intertwined with the social responsibility ones. Social values are going to become the core of the price, forcing all other pricing factors to adjust. Our economy may as well become social.
Or at least forced to be more responsible.