WEDNESDAY 26 JUL 2017 8:56 AM

SOCIAL PURPOSE BEFORE PROFIT

Sustainability and CSR initiatives from companies have gained importance for customers, investors, government and non-governmental organisations, among others. But what is their real impact these actions have on the company’s consumers?

CSR in the form of economic, legal, ethical or philanthropic actions has become a must for companies as consumers demand not only better products but also more committed companies. A new study by IPSOS Mori in partnership with Forster Communications and Neil Gaught & Associates, reveals that the public believes the current model of business is not working and prefers companies committed to make a positive impact in the community.

According to the research, almost half of consumers surveyed (47%) consider ethically run businesses better for the economy and 48 % prefer to become clients of these types of businesses. Some of the most shocking figures include: 49% of the surveyed declared they would not work for a company they consider unethical, 47% prefer to support businesses clearly involved on social issues and 70% tend to become customers of companies who pay their employees fairly.

UK based fast food chain Pret-a-Manger is an example of sustainability. Pret continuously increases its efforts to reduce its print on the environment by producing fresh food for sale and distributing unsold items to the homeless every day, causing a double positive impact in the community. The company also has an apprenticeship scheme and animal welfare through ethical farming. Pret received Compassion in World Farming awards for its high welfare chicken, eggs and pigs in 2008, 2010 and 2012, as well as the Cage Free Award in 2017.

However, this is a topic that needs to be addressed carefully. Earlier this year, Premier League decided that clubs were prioritising finance over accessibility for their fans and dictated stadiums have to guarantee a minimum number of seats for wheelchair users. In the case of Watford F.C., 61 additional wheelchair spaces, which have not been requested by the community, would leave 700 able-bodied supporters out of the stadium. The club risks facing a millionaire fine, but states the goal is impossible to comply with.

The results and conclusions of IPSOS Mori study were published in the context of the launch of “Core – How a Single Organizing Idea can Change Business for Good,” a practical guide written by Neil Gaught about strategies to develop ideas with positive impact in the world.

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