TUESDAY 1 SEP 2015 9:01 AM


Ethical practice and social responsibility are becoming a major contributor towards business success, and effectively communicating a business’ activity in this area is crucial.

A new report by Forster Communications shows that young business leaders in particular are more engaged with social and environmental issues; with 82% of those under the age of 35 saying that businesses should do more.

Overall, 57% of the 700 business leaders surveyed think that businesses should behave more responsibly, and 63% of consumers think the same. The survey shows that organisations which successfully implement and communicate social responsibility and sustainability are likely to see a positive ROI. Half of the 2,000 consumers surveyed by Forster said that they would be more likely to buy a product or service from an ethical organisation.

Amanda Powell-Smith, CEO of Forster Communications, says, “We believe social good is not a bolt-on but an essential, profitable ingredient in new business models and this survey backs that up. Businesses who engage on causes, starting from their own employees through to their suppliers and customers, become better businesses, simple as that.”

One way to demonstrate corporate responsibility is through charity partnerships, the Business to Society Survey found that 64% of consumers think that businesses should do more work with charities (rising to 75% of 18-34 year olds).

However, the survey also showed that some causes and charities are more popular than others. Reducing loneliness, tackling homelessness and providing better care for older people, are areas where businesses tend to show less interest. The most popular issues for businesses are; helping people into employment (80%), supporting local communities (71%) and tackling environmental issues (68%).

Powell-Smith, says, “We’ve long believed that commercial and social purposes are about ‘and’ not ‘or’ for businesses, so it is great to have evidence that a lot of business leaders and consumers agree. We know there are many exciting examples of businesses working around core issues, such as employability. However there remains a real opportunity for progressive organisations to look beyond the expected and find ways to tackle less ‘popular’ issues such as loneliness or mental health, which have a critical impact on individual quality of life.”


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