There is a widespread global consensus that the decision whether to treat people and the environment responsibly should not be left to the corporate world, but that national governments should take steps to compel companies to do this.
According to GlobeScan’s most recent polling, nearly nine in ten citizens (88%) across 23 countries support governments taking active legislative and regulatory steps to ensure social and environmental responsibility by companies, rather than leaving it to business to take steps voluntarily.
Among the populations who feel most strongly that governments should apply further pressure to force corporate responsibility are many with large, often controversial commodities sectors, such as Russia (95%), Nigeria (93%), Peru (92%), and Indonesia (91%). Other countries where over 90 percent of those surveyed feel further governmental action is required are crisis-hit Spain (97%) and Greece (91%), as well as France (94%), which recently elected a socialist government committed to higher levels of taxation for both businesses and the rich.
There are some surprises—India, location of the Bhopal disaster, one of the most infamous incidents of corporate negligence in history, has the lowest proportion of respondents who support government-mandated corporate responsibility in the survey—but even in India three out of four citizens support a firm government hand in this area.
While these results cast further light on the anti-business narrative GlobeScan has previously highlighted in the West, the breadth of this consensus—particularly in the developing world—demonstrates that business as a whole urgently needs to improve its approach to social citizenship. Continued failure in this regard risks a general upswing of anti-corporate feeling around the world, as well as specific impacts, driven by reputational damage, to the share prices of unresponsive corporations.
Finding from the GlobeScan Radar, Wave 1, 2012
Featured Findings offer weekly insight from GlobeScan's unique global survey data archive. Every Friday, we share and interpret a topical finding from one of GlobeScan's most recent studies conducted among global publics or key opinion formers, focusing on business in society, the environment, the economy, industry reputation and global trends.
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