Monday, December 31, 2007

The Significance of Introducing an Award to the Best/bad Manufacturer of the year in Tanzania Market

By Bernard Kihiyo

Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS) would like to introduce Annual award to the best and bad manufacturer, supplier, importer, operator and service provider of the year in accordance to the standard and needs of Tanzania consumers.
This Annual award will create greater possibilities for using corporate social responsibility (CSR) and business best practise frameworks to promote greater private sector interest in consumers’ protection.

The award will give feedback to businesses on their conducts from Tanzania communities especially from consumers. The goal is to work toward consumers to have good quality products and the best deal on value for money.

The Annual Award will involve strong consumers’ participation in a more transparency ways on selecting the best and bad company of their choice through postal mails, e-mails, text messages, participatory radio and television shows. The award will demonstrate genuine levels of transparency, ethical behaviour and stakeholder engagement in Tanzania market.

Significance of the award
It is claimed that more than 80% of consumers in Tanzanian suffer from lack of understanding of consumers’ rights. They remain vulnerable to unscrupulous traders, consumers have got no ability to claim for their rights and they don’t have a formidable platform that could make their voices’ heard.

This annual competition will bring the attention of businesses; that consumers are watching companies’ activities, actions and behaviours on how best they could serve for consumers’ interests and needs. Consumers’ opinions on the way businesses are behaving this is one way of making their voices to be heard and the award will empower Tanzania consumers to a great extent.

This is to say, this competition will catalyse businesses to invest in broader social values whose benefits go beyond profit. For businesses to flourish there must be symbiotic relationship between supply and demand side. The award is one way of empowerment of consumers and on the other hand strengthening business environment for Tanzania (BEST project) especially on the demand side.

What’s there to gain to companies?
There are good reasons why all companies have to work to embrace social responsibility and business best practice, because it can reap real rewards that help the company to prosper, for instance;-
A company’s ability to attract and maintain a customer base depends on it being able to offer attractive and relevant products backed by excellent customer services. It is essential for a company to demonstrate that it places a strong emphasis on customers throughout its core activities.

It is no longer enough to argue that businesses contribute to society simply by creating jobs and wealth, a business can only sustain its credibility if it has clear a ‘licence to operate’ from the local community by adherence of societal consumers’ needs and interest.

Increasingly, a company’s performance as a responsible business is key to its stock market standing, helping to protect it from instability and share price fluctuations. Investors are becoming more concerned to invest in company’s that act with social responsibility.

Transparency and a commitment to responsible business could give a company an advantage in securing public contracts.

One way to build a better relationship with customers and can help to increase efficiency because of the feedback that companies are going to get from their consumers. if this is used in the best constructive ways it is going to increase efficiency in the company

What’s there to gain to Tanzania consumers?
The voice of consumers will be heard
Consumers will be supplied with good quality goods and services which adhere to standards and quantity and measurements.

Consumers are going to be treated fairly with business; in the due cause their rights are going to be protected.

Consumers’ needs, interests and expectation will be respected by business as majority of companies can respect the integrity of a customer’s expectations by being transparent in all their activities.

Informed consumers have an essential role in promoting consumption that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable, including through the effects of their choices on producers.
The award aims on boosting
Sustainable consumption includes meeting the needs of present and future generations for goods and services in ways that are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.

Responsibility for sustainable consumption is shared by all members and organizations of society, with informed consumers, Government, business, labour organizations, and consumer and environmental organizations playing particularly important roles.

Promoting sustainable consumption through the design, production and distribution of goods and services

Promoting public participation and debate on sustainable consumption, for getting feedback from consumers, and share and inform consumers on the out-come

Raise consumers’ awareness of the impact of sustainable consumption patterns and promotion of sector-specific environmental-management best practices.

Promotion on the use of products and services that are safe and energy and resource efficient, considering their full life-cycle impacts and national and international safety standards for products and services.

Promote awareness of the health-related benefits of sustainable consumption and production patterns, bearing in mind both direct effects on individual health and collective effects through environmental protection.

Discourage unsustainable practices and incentives for more sustainable practices, while avoiding potential negative effects for market access.

What is the award going to monitor?
The award will monitor on how business provides it customers with the highest quality products and services consistent with their requirements and expectations.

How business is treating its customers fairly and ensures that their health and safety is properly protected

The award will monitor on how manufactured goods meet reasonable demands of durability, utility and reliability, and are suited to the purpose for which they are intended. Similar approach will be applied to the provision of services.

The award will monitor how manufacturers and/or retailers provide and ensure adequate availability of reliable after-sales service and spare parts

The award will monitor how business adheres to fair and effective competition in order to provide consumers with the greatest range of choice among products and services at the lowest cost.

The award will monitor how business provides necessary information to enable consumers to take informed and independent decisions, as well as make sure that the information provided is accurate and how business is allowing free flow of accurate information on all aspects of consumer products.

The award will monitor how business adheres to marketing and sales practices that are guided by the principle of fair treatment of consumers and how they meet legal requirements.

The award will monitor how business adheres to weights and measuring equipment and instruments in the areas of mass, length, volume, energy and temperature.

The award will monitor how companies adhere to government’s policies that enable consumers to obtain optimum benefit from their economic resources.

The award will monitor how business achieves the goals of satisfactory production and performance standards, adequate distribution methods, fair business practices, informative marketing and effective protection against practices which could adversely affect the economic interests of consumers and the exercise of choice in the market place.

The award will monitor how business promotes healthy competition as a key component of the business environment and it can be an effective way to spread best practice in the field of responsible business.

The award will monitor how business are ensuring that manufacturer, distributor and others involved in the provision of goods and services adhere to established laws and mandatory standards.

The award will monitor how business promotes research on consumer behaviour related to environmental damage in order to identify ways to make consumption patterns more sustainable.

The award will monitor how business gives customer service and consultation that benefit company and customers alike.

The award will monitor how business behaves responsibly and aware of its impact on society beyond profit, does it has a better track record in maintaining environment.

The award will monitor relationship business it has with supplier, are the suppliers practices respect human dignity. This becomes important, as companies have to be held more and more responsible for the practices of their suppliers and sub-contractors.

Any interested part; kindly get in touch with us through this email;

The Author is
Executive Director
Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society

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