Fully 87 per cent of those surveyed said corporations should be socially responsible even if it means earning less.
There is one immutable rule in business, says Xantrex chair Mossadiq Umedaly: “You must do what your customers tell you to do.” That being the case – and viewed in light of a major Mustel Group survey commissioned by BCBusiness magazine – B.C.’s chief executives had best start embracing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The Mustel Group asked 500 British Columbians six questions about their feelings on CSR issues. The results, accurate within 4.4 per cent in 19 cases out of 20, suggest that a clear majority of citizens – 87 per cent – believe B.C. companies should be taking greater responsibility for our community, our society and our environment. Of those same respondents, 70 per cent said a company’s record of corporate citizenship has at least moderate influence in their personal purchasing decisions. If you include survey respondents who said CSR had “a little influence”, that number jumps to 90 per cent – which means that nine out of 10 purchasing decisions are made with CSR in mind. One of the most important results, however, may be the degree to which job seekers narrow down prospective employers on the basis of corporate reputation. In the broad population, 45 per cent of respondents said a company’s record of corporate citizenship would have “a great deal of influence” on where they would want to work. Among those with advanced education – presumably the most valuable employees – that number jumps to 50 per cent. Finally, fully 87 per cent of those surveyed said corporations should be socially responsible even if it means earning less. Among the well-educated, that number climbs to 91 per cent. Among Green Party voters, it’s 97.3 per cent. But here’s the one you might find most interesting. Among the nearly 40 per cent of respondents who self-identified as supporters of the provincial Liberal Party, 86.1 per cent still believed conscience should reign over – or at least rein in – profit. Following are complete results: 1. Which do you think is most important for a company to focus on: 18% Providing employment 18 Providing customer service 18 Being a good corporate citizen 18 Protecting the environment 10 Exercising financial ethics 9 Help with social and community issues 8 Being profitable 1 Supporting charities 7 Don’t know 2. To what extent do you agree or disagree that B.C. companies should be playing a greater role in addressing social, environmental and community issues? 44% Agree strongly 43 Agree somewhat 1 Neutral 6 Disagree somewhat 3 Disagree strongly 2 Don’t know 3. Why should/shouldn’t companies play a greater role in addressing B.C.’s social, environmental and community issues? Reasons for supporting: • Our communities / citizens are their resource/should be giving back • We all should/we are all in this together • They are part of the community/don’t exist in isolation • For long-term environmental sustainability/ future generations • To support their profitability • They drive the economy/help the economy Reasons for not supporting: • Social improvement is not their function/mandate • Companies exist to earn profits 4. When choosing a product or service, to what extent, if any, does a company’s record of corporate citizenship have on your purchase decision? Would you say the company’s record has: 29% A great deal of influence on your purchase decision 41 Moderate influence 19 A little influence 8 No influence at all 3 Don’t know 5. If you were deciding where you want to work, to what extent would a company’s record of corporate citizenship be a factor? Would you say it would have: 45% A great deal of influence in deciding where you want to work 34 Moderate influence 8 A little influence 9 No influence at all 4 Don’t know 6. Should corporations be socially responsible even if it means earning less? 87% Yes 10 No 3 Don’t know Related Stories: Corporate redemption How to earn your wings