The new “Do Well Do Good Public Opinion Survey” on Sustainability has just been published. The survey was conducted through an online panel organized by Qualtrics Labs, Inc. between October 28 and November 2, 2011 with 1,001 respondents consisting of 500 women and 501 men on behalf of “Do Well Do Good”, LLC. The report contains a wealth of perspectives and insights about the way consumers view the responsibilities of corporations for example, these top-level findings:
Support for Sustainability: 83% of consumers think companies should try to accomplish their business goals while still trying to improve society and the environment, down from 88% in last year’s survey.
Leadership: 70% believe that corporate CEOs hold a high level of responsibility for their company’s impacts on the environment, employees, and the larger community.
Climate Change: Nearly 64% agree that climate change is real and 65% agree that human activities have contributed to it and 48% claim to have been affected personally by climate change.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions: 78% of consumers believe that companies should decrease their emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, but 40% and less believe that companies in the United States or in their own communities are looking for ways to do so.
However, what caught my eye was this:
Choosing from a list of 17 issues, respondents were asked to rate how important it was for companies to address them. The top five most important issues represent a cross-section of social, environmental and governance topics, namely:
1. Pay employees competitive wages and benefits (e.g. healthcare, pension)
2. Provide training and educational opportunities for employees
3. Effectively manage their use of energy
4. Be honest and transparent about their business practices and manufacturing processes
5. Ensure that their suppliers respect human rights
See that? The TOP THINGS that consumers want companies to do when they consider responsible behaviors is treat their employees right – care for their economic and professional well-being.
CSR for HR is not just something that companies should do to make themselves feel good. Consumers are noticing! Every employee is also a consumer. Company practices are an open secret. When I started to work for a multinational corporation over 25 years ago, I was told that my salary is personal and I should keep it to myself. Would that fly today? Corporate practices are so transparent that those companies which do not deal with the core issues of how their CSR and Sustainability practices are embedded in all management decisions may lose not only the best talent but also consumers.
Is there better proof that it is time for HR to wake up to CSR?
Find this article, and others, by Elaine Cohen on one of her blogs here.
Elaine Cohen is a CSR consultant, Sustainability Reporter, HR Professional and author of CSR for HR: A Necessary Partnership for Advancing Responsible Business Practices. Find out more about Cohen’s work via her website.