According to a poll of 25 influential figures, mandatory corporate social responsibility (CSR) would help create a level playing-field and clear the confusion surrounding social reporting.
The research, carried out by Countrywide Porter Novelli, comes just weeks after the European Commission rejected a regulatory approach to CSR in its White Paper, published last month (PRWeek, 19 July).
The EC dismissed mandatory social and environmental reporting, emphasising instead CSR's voluntary nature.
But CPN's research shows that three-quarters of those questioned support regulated reporting, welcoming a move to regulate CSR and drive greater accountability.
CPN managing director Fiona Joyce said: 'More and more companies are calling for mandatory reporting. A recent announcement from four NGOs lobbying for an international treaty on CSR is the latest example.'
Of the quarter who were against regulation, reasons cited were that it would stifle creativity and lead to organisations spending more money and effort on reporting to meet regulations rather than the CSR programmes themselves.
John Lewis Partnership director of corporate affairs Nigel Brotherton said in the survey: 'My fear would be that EU legislation would stifle creativity, with energy being diverted to meeting the letter of the law rather than being focused on the primary objective.'
Other groups surveyed include Asda, BT, The Times and Greenpeace.