Workers in emerging economies most concerned about CSR

6 in 10 believe companies need to pay more attention to the environment

NEW YORK (Reuters) — Workers in emerging countries are more concerned about corporate behaviour than employees in more developed nations, according to a poll.

The Ipsos survey of 18,150 workers in 24 nations showed that feelings about corporate responsibility were highest in Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia and India, where more than one-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, and 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.

"The main finding, no matter where you look, is that companies can't neglect corporate social responsibility. People say it is important for their employers to do it," Trent Ross, a senior vice-president with Ipsos, said of the poll results.

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 one-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.

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

"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," Ross said in an interview.

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