Leadership in responsible business—a diverse picture

GlobeScan’s ongoing tracking of public attitudes towards corporate leadership in social and environmental responsibility reveals a highly disparate picture, probably reflecting persistently low levels of public awareness of corporate activity in this area. When asked to name a company they consider to be socially or environmentally responsible, the public around the world names a very broadspectrum of companies, with the only companies able to “cut through” in individual countries usually being flagship brands strongly associated with the prestige of the nation in question (for instance, Samsung in South Korea, Petrobras in Brazil, VW in Germany, or Safaricom in Kenya).
The reasons given for considering a company to be socially responsible are equally diverse, but show some regional patterns. Charitable support—particularly as governments retrenches—is highly significant in North America. Employee treatment is key in Europe, where the workforce traditionally has higher expectations of employment conditions, while in the wake of a number of product-related scandals, the quality of products and services is dominant as a consideration in Asia. This suggests that companies looking to establish reputations for responsible business will need to take care to tailor the focus of their messaging to the regional context.
Finding from the GlobeScan Radar, Wave 1, 2012
This post was written by former GlobeScan Research Director, Sam Mountford.