M&S is most transparent UK company, say consumers

Marks & Spencer has been ranked by consumers as the most transparent UK company in a report produced by Cohn & Wolfe.

Marks & Spencer: most transparent UK company
Marks & Spencer: most transparent UK company

The report, ‘From Transparency to Full Disclosure’, is based on a survey of 3,000 adults in the UK, USA and China by research company Toluna about the honesty, transparency and ethics of brands.

In the UK, Marks & Spencer, The Co-Operative and John Lewis topped the list of companies thought to be the most transparent, with other supermarkets, Virgin and The Body Shop also in the top ten.

Tech giants Apple and Microsoft topped the list of US companies while consumer electronics brands Haier, Lenovo and Huawei led in China.

The report found that 66 per cent of UK consumers rate transparency as an important factor in their purchasing decisions, an increase from 53 per cent last year.

In addition, 84 per cent of UK and US consumers and 90 per cent of Chinese consumers said that CEOs could not claim ignorance of something bad happening in the business.

More than a third (37%) of consumers in the UK, USA and China think that companies only disclose what they need to for legal reasons and 22% think companies only divulge the information that portrays the business in the best light, the study found.

Cohn & Wolfe global head of corporate affairs Geoff Beattie said: "Even if a company is sitting on information which may cause negative public reactions in the short run, it is better to be open with consumers and admit failings where they occur. The public will forgive you for mistakes, but not for covering them up."

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