Good Behaviour will pay dividends after Lockdown

Companies that demonstrate responsible business practices during the coronavirus outbreak and beyond will be in a stronger position to succeed once the lockdown is lifted, according to leading UK data science consultancy, Barcanet.

A survey commissioned by Barcanet has revealed the strength of feeling that consumers have towards certain business behaviours and this is now being borne out by public reaction to corporate practices in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Barcanet’s YouGov survey, asked more than 2,000 consumer respondents from across the UK to share what business behaviours they cared about most – focusing on six specific areas.

Ian Yates: getting under the skin of customers’ needs

Respondents were asked to what extent, if at all, they care if companies and/or manufacturers; demonstrate that they are reducing their carbon dioxide emissions, pay employees of each gender equally in the same role, pay their suppliers quickly/on time, pay their employees the real living wage, pay the correct amount of UK tax and pay their CEO in-proportion with the rest of their employees.

The key findings of the survey were:

  • Paying the correct amount of tax is paramount to public perception – this measure came out top in terms of what consumers cared about “a lot”. In total, 88 per cent of people care about this issue;
  • How businesses pay employees is also under major scrutiny from consumers. Ranking second highest in the list of behaviours that people care about a lot is gender pay equality. In all, 81% of people care about this issue; 
  • Fifty-two per cent of people care a lot about businesses paying the real living wage, with 83 per cent caring about this issue overall;
  • The way companies treat their suppliers is important, with 39 per cent caring a lot about businesses paying their suppliers quickly/on time;
  • Almost three quarters felt that CEO pay should be fair and equitable, and
  • 74 per cent expect businesses to be able to demonstrate a commitment to CO2 reduction. 

Ian Yates, Managing Director and Founder said: “At the start of the year, business behaviour and its impact on society was featuring high on the CEO priority list for 2020.

“Despite the inevitable impact Coronavirus is having on corporate strategy right now, companies that want to be in the best shape post-lockdown should still place importance on socially responsible practices.

“We commissioned the YouGov survey to help clients get under the skin of what their customers really want from businesses and to show how vital demonstrable CSR is.

“Any CEO keeping tabs of the news will be aware that consumers are vowing to boycott companies that are perceived to have behaved badly towards employees, suppliers and society at large recently. Some major names including Sports Direct, Wetherspoons and Travelodge have suffered reputational damage as a result and could be hit in the pocket too. It’s more pressing than ever for businesses to behave in a way that resonates with their customers’ ethical values.

“Customers, employees, suppliers, regulators and investors have one thing in common right now – they’re all judging businesses by their behaviour, on a local and global scale. And, if you don’t meet their social responsibility requirements but your competitors do, it could have serious repercussions for your company going forward, especially set against an already challenging economic backdrop.”

Barcanet is now using the findings of its survey and its data analytics expertise to develop a new product that will enable businesses to score and showcase their CSR performance, weighted specifically towards the expectations of consumers.

The product, which is set for official launch in early Summer, will inform corporate decision-making, support business improvement and allow Barcanet clients to benchmark their CSR scores against competitor CSR standings. 

Download the full survey results report here

Contact: Ian Yates, Founder and Director, Barcanet: