The survey found that 86 per cent of consumers felt that companies should actively communicate their CSR activities, with 74 per cent declaring that this information would affect their purchasing decisions. Almost three in five of respondents stated that it was acceptable for a company to benefit from its CSR work.
The survey, part of MORI’s CSR study, sought to shed light on the relationship between companies’ CSR work and communications efforts. Just eight per cent said it was not important to know about CSR activities, and that no money should be spent publicising it.
MORI’s director of the CSR study, Jenny Dawkins, said that companies’ reticence in communicating details of their CSR activities is understandable: ‘A lot of companies are at the stage where they want their CSR initiatives in place before they start communicating details, as there are a lot of potential pitfalls if they get it wrong,’ she said.
She added that while consumers said their decisions would be influenced by CSR work, companies ought not to focus unduly on the finding: ‘People often say they are concerned about an issue but that does not necessarily mean it translates into their behaviour. It is a risk factor that companies need to pay attention to, but it also depends how important the public is to them as a stakeholder or whether there are other opinion formers they should concentrate on,’ Dawkins said.
The survey also discovered that the current most common sources of information on a company’s CSR activities are word of mouth, working for the company in question and in-store promotions.