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Two-Thirds of Indian Consumers Want Government to Enact Corporate Responsibility Laws

New Poll Highlights Indians’ Rising Expectations on Corporate Responsibility

  • Globescan

MUMBAI – Most Indian consumers want to see new laws enacted to force companies to act responsibly—even if this means higher prices and fewer jobs, according to a new poll of consumers across 29 countries.

The GlobeScan Radar poll was conducted by CVoter in India in collaboration with international research firm GlobeScan among a representative sample of 1,000 consumers in each country. The poll reveals that nearly two-thirds of those surveyed in India— 63 per cent—said they wanted government to pass new laws to force companies to go beyond their traditional economic role and work to improve society, compared to just 31 per cent who disagreed.

Indian expectations in this area are higher than in most developed countries surveyed, with 55 per cent of the Japanese, 50 per cent of the British, and just 39 per cent of Americans backing new laws to enforce corporate social responsibility.

The proportion of Indians who claim to have heard or read about what companies are doing to improve their social and environmental performance is also higher than most countries polled (50 per cent compared to a global average of 30 per cent), and has increased by ten percentage points since 2006.

Compared to Chinese consumers, Indians emerged as less sceptical overall about corporate social responsibility. More Indian consumers (49 per cent) than Chinese consumers (42 per cent) believe that companies communicate honestly about their social and environmental performance. In addition, the proportion of Chinese consumers interested in learning more about CSR is on the decline, while it is on the rise in India.

Asked to name a responsible company, Indians most commonly mentioned Tata, followed by Reliance, Aditya Birla Group, and Hindustan Unilever. Tata, often cited as a good example of a trusted brand, polarizes opinion, and is also the company most often mentioned as being irresponsible, with concerns cited by respondents over alleged irresponsibility during the installation of the Nano Car plant in Singur, West Bengal. Globally, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and Samsung topped the list of most responsible companies.

Yashwant Deshmukh, Director, CVoter explained: “Though Nano made headlines for Tata for being the cheapest car in the world, the Singur controversy resulted in negative sentiment towards the company. Tata did their best with damage control by calling off the project and also by engaging in effective CSR after the 27 November terror attacks in Mumbai.”

GlobeScan Director, Oliver Martin commented: “These figures clearly show that Indian companies ignore CSR at their peril—consumers are increasingly attentive to what companies are doing in this area, and want to see them take social responsibility seriously. But with faith in corporate leadership also on the decline in India, companies need to show they’re ready to meet these expectations, or risk seeing governments step in to enforce a responsible approach to business.”

Contact

  • Sam Mountford, Research Director
  • GlobeScan Incorporated
  • Office Phone: +44 20 7401 8380
  • Mobile phone: +44 7854 132635
  • sam.mountford@GlobeScan.com
    • Oliver Martin, Director Global Development
    • GlobeScan Incorporated
    • Office phone: +1 416 969 3073
    • Mobile phone: +1 416 721 3544
    • oliver.martin@GlobeScan.com

Notes to Editors

  1. GlobeScan is an international opinion research consultancy. Companies, multilateral institutions, governments, and NGOs trust GlobeScan for its unique expertise in reputation research, sustainability, and issues management. GlobeScan provides global organizations with evidence-based insight and advice to help them build strong brands, manage relations with key stakeholders, and define their strategic positioning. GlobeScan conducts research in over 90 countries, is certified to the ISO 9001:2008 standard for its quality management system, and is a signatory to the UN Global Compact. Established in 1987, GlobeScan is an independent, management-owned company with offices in London, Toronto, and San Francisco. www.GlobeScan.com
  2. GlobeScan Radar is a syndicated annual survey of global public opinion, covering a variety of issues around business in society. GlobeScan has been tracking issues and societal expectations for business across the world since 1999. GlobeScan Radar provides global decision-makers with critical insights and comparative country metrics needed to better understand the trends shaping their international business and policy environment. The research program is designed to help shape corporate strategies, policy positions, initiative development, and communications activities.
  3. The latest GlobeScan Radar results are based on interviews with 30,580 citizens in Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the USA. Interviews were conducted face-to-face or by telephone between 30 November, 2009 to 16 February, 2010. Polling was conducted by GlobeScan and its research partners in each country. Some urban-only surveying was conducted in certain developing countries, following generally accepted research standards in each country. The margin of error per country ranges from +/-2 to 3 per cent, 19 times out of 20.