By Anastasia Lloyd-Wallis
COO & Head of Insights, Retail Doctor Group

There are many challenges that retailers are having to overcome and in recent years, social cause has increasingly been becoming a more prominent topic that has been on the mind of consumers and retailers alike. As the call to action to address social issues becomes increasingly clearer, consumers are prompting retailers to consider trying to address our world’s most significant issues and missions that we care about.  

Consumers are looking to retailers to lead in the change, whether it is recycling, ethically sourced, care for the local community or supporting a mission that is close to their heart, this ethical and social stance is important with 44% of consumers choosing to purchase from retailers with sustainability efforts rather than a competitor without them. 

This concept was shared throughout all finalists at the 2022 Australian Retail Innovators Awards. 

Let’s look at our top performers in the Social Cause category: 

  • Bread and Butter Project is Australia’s first social enterprise bakery whose profits are 100% invested into helping shape the lives of those seeking refuge and asylum. Since 2013, The Bread & Butter Project has provided training and employment pathways for refugees and asylum seekers to boost their prospects of successful resettlement, employment and a strong sense of belonging. 
  • Assembly Label created a ‘Choose What You Pay’ sales promotion with styles offered at up to 50% off the standard retail price and three additional pricing options (extra $5, $10 or $15). If customers choose to pay more for the product, the difference will be donated to charity and matched equally by Assembly Label.  
  • ELK Clothing is committed to transparency within all their operations and is motivated by working together with suppliers who share the same mindset of creating a sustainable world and protecting the environment.  
  • Etiko embeds social cause into its purpose by striving to create Fairtrade organic clothing and footwear that causes minimal harm to the environment and helps and protects the people involved in making the fabrics and garments. 
  • Officeworks cemented a partnership with World’s Biggest Garage Sale and created Circonomy, a new brand that seeks to extend the life cycle of products across Australia as a sustainable way of waste management, allowing the service to repurpose and resell damaged or customer-returned products.
  • Petbarn’s mission is ‘to partner with customers, team members, suppliers and community organisations to enrich the lives of pets, animals and the people who love and care for them.’  Their recent social initiative, Petbarn Adoption, partnered with various charities such as Savourlife and RSPCA to find homes for pets, giving them a second chance to have a better life in a loving home.  
  • Princess Polly places sustainability at the forefront of their focus by promoting ethical sourcing, sustainable products and equality and community through their Princess Polly Earth Club initiative. 
  • The Hidden Sea is a South Australian wine brand that is devoted to the removal of plastic from oceans and rivers, endeavouring to remove and recycle 1 billion single-use plastic bottles from the ocean and rivers by 2030.  


As consumers increasingly expect the brands that they love to have a strong and clear stance on social causes, brands are starting to follow. Brands can make a big difference whilst building their brand identity and values as shown by our 2022 finalists.  

For the future, social cause will continue to be an integral part of every business. How got a clear understanding of your social cause that aligns with your brand and internal culture and mission? Talk to our Insights team to find out more about how you can improve your business’ customer experience. To find out more, contact us on or call us on +61 2 9460 2882.