Consumers are becoming ever more sceptical and distrustful of ethical claims made by companies according to new research.
Four in five Britons (79 per cent) now believe many companies pretend to be ethical just to sell more products, compared to just over two-thirds (68 per cent) in 2005.
Similarly, almost 79 per cent are also of the opinion that companies need to back up their ethical claims with proof.
In contrast – and potentially signalling a strategy rethink for the marketing communications industry – 91 per cent believe it is better for a company to be honest in its communications, rather than pretend it’s squeaky clean (up from 82 per cent in 2005).
Some 85 per cent claim they would trust a company more if it were honest about its policies and practices ‘even if I didn’t agree with them’ (compared to 78 per cent in 2005).
The research, by Ipsos MORI for SEE Potential, has been published to coincide with the launch of SEE Companies, a new accreditation scheme.
SEE Companies accreditation differentiates businesses that are able prove their Social, Environmental and Ethical (SEE) claims from those that are not.
It helps people base purchasing, employment and investment decisions on SEE criteria. Accredited companies are licensed to display the SEE Companies Logo on packaging and marketing materials, making identification easy.
Founder and managing director of SEE Potential, Michael Solomon, said, “In the past two years, concern over issues like global poverty, working conditions in the developing world, species extinction and climate change has become more widespread.
“Business has reacted with claims of increasing responsibility. In some cases these claims have been based on solid SEE policies and practices but in others they have not.”
He added, “Until now it has been incredibly difficult to identify genuine SEE business. The launch of SEE Companies tackles this problem head on.”
The SEE Companies initiative accredits companies, not individual products and to become a SEE Company, a business must answer 35 challenging questions.
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