The survey also reveals that the public is more likely than a year ago to take a company’s social responsibility record into consideration when buying a company’s products or services. Nine in ten now regard this as important, compared with eight in ten a year ago. A further eight in ten think it is important to know about a company’s activities in society and the community when they are forming a judgement about them.

Despite the emphasis that consumers place on corporate giving, a ‘Giving List’ published last week finds that most of Britain’s big companies are failing to support charities and voluntary organisations. This report is further supported by the MORI study, which shows that seven in ten Britons think that industry and commerce do not pay enough attention to their social responsibilities.

Among the general public, corporate social responsibility is defined mainly in terms of responsibility towards customers, local communities, employees, the environment and ethical behaviour . Research among other opinion leader groups surveyed by MORI finds differing priorities across audiences. British MPs see the local community as the top priority, while business & financial journalists consider employees as being the main focus.

Stewart Lewis, Director of MORI, said: “Corporate Social Responsibility is clearly high on the public agenda and its importance actually increases in difficult economic times. Despite the pressures on business, it is expected to do its bit in softening the wider social damage that downturn can cause.”

Technical details:

A representative sample of 2,099 adults aged 15+ were interviewed across Great Britain for MORI’s annual Corporate Social Responsibility study, in the period 7 July – 6 August 2001. This study is part of a suite of regular surveys in MORI’s Key Audience Research programme. Other audiences covered include Government (MPs, MSPs and MEPs), The Financial Community (Investors and Analysts, Business & Financial Journalists), Business Leaders (Captains of Industry), the Media (national editors and specialist press) and the General Public (Corporate Image and Business and the Environment).