Ethical work 'not being exploited'

British businesses are failing to capitalise on the public's propensity to spend with ethically sound brands, according to research by Mori.

Although 75% of UK consumers said more information on a company's social and ethical behaviour would influence their purchasing decisions, the study found that only 30% could name a company they consider to be socially, environmentally or ethically responsible.

The report claims companies are failing to effectively communicate their corporate social responsibility (CSR) credentials through marketing and other forms of communication. Nearly 90% of respondents think companies should actively communicate their CSR activities, and 60% said they felt it was acceptable for companies to benefit.

Mori director of CSR Jenny Dawkins said the issue needs to be addressed.

"Improved communication, especially at the point of purchase, or even mass marketing with an integral responsibility theme, could close this gap," she said.

Asked what was the most appropriate method for companies to communicate their CSR activities, 58% of respondents said TV advertising would have the most impact. However, only 11% said they were aware of companies' activities on this medium.

Word of mouth was deemed the most effective method of communication by respondents (18%), followed by people who work for the company (17%) and in-store leaflets and posters (16%). Press advertising scored 9%.

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