WEDNESDAY 12 AUG 2009 2:34 PM


Companies that scale back on CSR during the economic downturn will regret the decision come the recovery, a survey of UK business leaders has found.

The survey of over 2,100 opinion formers and consumers in Britain – conducted by OgilvyEarth, the sustainability practice of Ogilvy PR – found that 66% of business leaders believe that businesses which scale back environmental and social commitment during the recession will regret this once the economy recovers. Meanwhile, 67% considered being trusted to deliver on social and environmental policies as critical to business success.

It seems the recession has done little to curb consumer demand for products with social and environmental credentials. In fact, nearly 40% of consumers were more concerned with environmental and social issues than they were before the recession began.

However, consumer trust in businesses’ commitment to CSR has weakened. Only one 34% of consumers expressed confidence in UK companies to remain committed to their social and environmental promises.

“Regardless of the fears in the business community, consumers’ commitment to ethical social issues is holding up during the recession,” said Ogilvy PR’s EMEA managing director Ash Coleman-Smith. “Now is the opportunity for business leaders to prove that they’re sincere and truly committed to their promises and not just fair-weather friends.”