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Customers, employees, new hires, suppliers, regulators and investors have one thing in common right now – they're all judging your business by its behaviour, on a local and global scale. And, if you don't meet their social responsibility requirements but your competitors do, it could have serious repercussions for your company.

The role businesses are expected to play in society goes far beyond supporting economic health these days and corporations are being called upon to serve a wide range of interests – no longer beholden to their shareholders alone.

Corporate social responsibility is now being taken very seriously in boardrooms across the globe. Less than a year ago, one of the most powerful corporate lobbying groups in the world, the Business Roundtable, issued a statement redefining 'the purpose of a corporation'. Comprising almost 200 CEOs, amongst them the leaders of Apple, Pepsi and Walmart, the group urged that the interests of shareholders should not be the sole focus for companies, but that they should also invest in their employees, deal fairly and ethically with their suppliers and work to protect the environment.

The best companies will be those that carve out a reputation for being genuinely altruistic, demonstrating empathy and taking action to support equality and sustainability in their own communities and on a national and global scale.

A new age of meaningful CSR has begun.

Business behaviour and its impact on society has shot up the CEO list of priorities. But a CSR strategy will only succeed if it resonates with your stakeholders. To help our clients get under the skin of what stakeholders really want from businesses, and how they rank different types of corporate social behaviour, we commissioned a one-of-a kind YouGov survey.

The highlights

We asked more than 2000 consumer respondents from across the UK to tell us what they cared about most – focusing on six specific areas. And now we can share this exceedingly valuable insight with you, so you can align your actions to their expectations.

We posed the question, to what extent, if at all, do you personally care if ANY company and/ or manufacturer does each of the following?

  • Demonstrate that they are reducing their Carbon Dioxide emissions
  • Pay employees of each gender equally in the same role
  • Pay their suppliers quickly/ on time
  • Pay their employees the real living wage
  • Pay the correct amount of UK tax
  • Their CEO is paid in-proportion with the rest of the employees

We discovered that:

Paying the correct amount of tax is paramount

Of the six CSR measures respondents were asked to rank, paying the correct amount of UK tax came out top in terms of what they cared about 'a lot'. In total, 88% of people care about this issue, with 65% caring a lot. Only 7% are not concerned.

The way you pay your employees is under major scrutiny

Ranking second highest in the list of behaviours that stakeholders care about a lot is gender pay equality. In all, 81% of people care, with 53% caring a lot about employees being paid equally regardless of gender. Only 4% of respondents didn't care at all.

And 52% of people care a lot about businesses paying the real living wage, with 83% caring about this issue overall, indicating that fair pay is firmly on the agenda for employees and customers alike.

Paying your suppliers fairly is ranked higher than your carbon performance

It's true! Stakeholders really take notice of the way you treat your suppliers. In fourth position when it comes to what people care about a lot is paying your suppliers quickly/on time.  39% care about this factor a lot and a sizeable 74% of people care about this behaviour across the board, with just 4% not caring at all. 

CEO pay proportionality matters

Should your CEO be paid in proportion to the rest of your employees? 69% of people think so – with 37% caring about this issue a lot and 32% caring a fair amount. So, that's almost three quarters of respondents feeling that CEO pay should be fair and equitable.

Demonstrable CO2 reduction is still important – but is greater awareness needed?

Surprisingly, being able to demonstrate a commitment to CO2 reduction ranks at the bottom of business behaviours that our respondents care about a lot. That's not to say it doesn't matter to them – far from it. According to our survey, 74% of people care about the issue in total, which is still a large proportion. Perhaps this finding points to a need for businesses to educate their stakeholders about their carbon reduction plans and targets, and to explain why this action is important to the planet.

We want to help you use our findings to your advantage

Data is power, and we commissioned this survey to help arm businesses with the insight they need to develop CSR strategy and implement change that will put them ahead of the competition. 

Over the coming weeks and months, we'll be drilling down into each area of our findings in detail and sharing with you a deeper level of insight.

We'll also be explaining how you can use data analytics to benchmark your CSR performance against stakeholder demand and competitor CSR standings  - to help you blaze a trail and showcase your progression to customers and all other stakeholder groups.

In the meantime, you can download the full YouGov survey findings here for FREE>

To talk to us about any of the information in this blog, please contact hello@barcanet.com. We’d love to hear from you.

Ian Yates – Director, Barcanet

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