Workers in emerging economies most concerned with workplace safety, abiding with local laws

Socioeconomic development of country also important

NEW YORK (Reuters) — Workers in emerging countries are concerned about corporate behaviour — including workplace safety — more so than employees in more developed nations, according to a poll released on June 25.

According to the poll, the three most important things companies must do to be respected are: prioritize workplace safety, contribute to the socioeconomic development of the country, and abide by local laws and rights.

The Ipsos survey of 24 nations showed that feelings about corporate responsibility were highest in Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia and India, where more than half of workers said it was very important for their employers to be responsible to society and the environment.

But in Japan and France, less than 20 per cent of workers felt the same way. In Spain, Belgium, Germany, South Korea and China, the number was less than 30 per cent.

In other developed nations, it ranged from 30 per cent in Britain and 32 per cent in the United States, to 35 per cent in Australia and 37 per cent in Canada.

Overall, 61 per cent of respondents thought companies should pay more attention to the environment, and 52 per cent said they should contribute more to society.

Workers also consider a company's behaviour when making choices about products and services. About half of people in Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico said they are likely to think about a firm's social responsibility when buying something, compared to 15 per cent or less in France, Japan, Belgium and Germany.

"In the western democracies it is the burden of governments to do these things and in the developing world it is the burden of multi-national companies to provide this lift because governments are less able to do it," Trent Ross, a senior vice-president with Ipsos, said in an interview.

Ipsos questioned a total of 18,150 adults for the online survey conducted from April 2 to 16. Approximately 1,000 people took part in each nation, apart from Argentina, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Russia and Turkey, where about 500 people contributed to the survey.

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