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Rising CSR expectations and falling performance ratings pose problems for Spanish banks and policymakers

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Since the nadir of the global financial crisis in 2008–2009, there has been at least some degree of recovery across most of the global economy. Yet the financial situation in Spain remains precarious, and Spain’s problems, along with those of Greece, Italy, and Portugal, risk dragging Europe and the world back into recession. Meanwhile the Spanish public, left reeling by an economic crisis blamed in large part on corporate bad behaviour, expect ever higher standards of corporate responsibility from their banks.

GlobeScan’s most recent opinion tracking suggests that while the Spanish—and global citizens in general—feel that companies have extensive responsibilities to society, they do not believe that banks, often seen as the sector with most to blame for the world’s continuing economic problems, are meeting those responsibilities. Ratings of the banks’ approach to corporate responsibility were falling from already low levels by 2003, and this fall has accelerated through the crisis, with attitudes in Spain worsening even more rapidly than those in many other countries, as the extent of the financial sector’s involvement in the crisis—and particularly the role of Spain’s poorly regulated cajas—has become apparent.

However, the proportion of people in Spain who expect companies to meet certain social and environmental standards has risen throughout the crisis. This creates a difficult situation for bankers and policymakers alike. Banks’ focus in current circumstances is likely to be on survival rather than meeting these broad social expectations. Governments, meanwhile, are already committed to the politically unpopular but economically necessary strategy of propping up the institutions blamed for the crisis in the first place, and may find themselves courting public resentment if they use taxpayers’ funds to guarantee an industry that is widely considered to flout social and corporate norms.

 

Finding from the GlobeScan Radar, Wave 1, 2012

For more information on this finding, please contact  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  (Read Bio)

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Guest 19 October 2017

The GlobeScan Espresso Blog offers weekly insight from GlobeScan team members, based on our expertise in stakeholder intelligence and engagement, as well as client experience, and supported by our unique global trends archive.

The Featured Finding offers a weekly insight from GlobeScan's unique global survey data archive. Every Friday, we share and interpret a topical finding from one of GlobeScan's most recent studies conducted among global publics or key opinion formers, focusing on business in society, the environment, the economy, industry reputation and global trends. You can also view all the Featured Findings published since 2010 by topic and geography
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