Social purpose ahead of profits, consumers say

The latest findings in a poll conducted by Ipso Mori suggests change is required in the way businesses operate.

The survey, undertaken in the summer, found that many of us support businesses that are more ethically inclined and are not solely focused on creating profit.  In the poll almost half of consumers (47%) believe ethically run businesses are better for the economy and 48% prefer to use or purchase from businesses that act ethically.

Just under a fifth of those polled agree the current economic system is working well for them while just over a third believe businesses should put social purpose ahead of making profits.

Jonathan Glenni, director of the Ipsos Sustainable Development Research Centre said: “Being sustainable and ethical used to be marginal concerns for consumers but this survey points us to being close to a situation where the majority want to see businesses take a different approach and put those considerations on the same level as making profits.”

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The way companies treat their employees has come to the forefront with 70% more likely to purchase products or services from businesses paying employees a fair wage and 47% more likely to do the same for the businesses which have a positive stance of social issues. A company’s approach to business also extends to how it attracts new recruits. Nearly half of those surveyed would not take a job with a business they believe behaves unethically.

For many businesses putting sustainable values at the heart of their planning and development is integral to future growth. Many larger companies understand the correlation between respecting the environment, treating human beings as human beings and creating economic viability. They all contribute to building a resilient business that should be able to stand up to future potential risks. And this should be the same for small and medium-sized operations.

Creating a fairer, more equitable society is in all our interests, not just the minority.

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