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The Ethical Consumer - UK - July 2015

The Ethical Consumer - UK - July 2015

“For today’s consumers there is a sense that companies are inherently immoral, unless they can demonstrate that’s not the case. The most effective way of asserting CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) credentials is not via annual company reports, but via product packaging and television, which will have the most direct impact on people’s purchasing decisions.”

– Jack Duckett, Consumer Lifestyles Analyst

This report looks at the following areas:

Communicating ethics to different generations
Companies need to improve visibility of their CSR
If handled properly, bad publicity can be good for business


OVERVIEW
What you need to know
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Financial responsibility proves top ethical consideration
Figure 1: Ethical company indicators, May 2015
Over half of all adults think ethically when buying food and drink
Figure 2: Ethical consideration taken into account, by retail sector, May 2015
Unethical behaviour more likely to grab people’s attention
Figure 3: Sources of information about companies’ ethical initiatives and unethical behaviour, May 2015
People are willing to punish companies for bad behaviour
Figure 4: Selected attitudes towards brand and corporate ethics, May 2015
What we think
ISSUES & INSIGHTS
Communicating ethics to different generations
Companies need to improve visibility of their CSR
If handled properly, bad publicity can be good for business
THE MARKET
What you need to know
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle still a pertinent dictum
Creating a more sustainable future
Obesity = an expanding target
The importance of mental health initiatives
Not all publicity is good
Gender equality remains on the corporate ‘to-do’ list
Drivers of CSR and corporate initiatives – The environment
Food and drink waste
Figure 5: Amount of food wasted in the UK annually (million tonnes), by sector, 2014
Recycling has stalled
Figure 6: Household waste recycling rate in England, 2000/01-2013/14
Figure 7: Screenshot from TerraCycle website, June 2015
Sustainable energy and carbon footprint
Figure 8: Greenhouse gas emissions associated with UK consumption, 1997-2012
Figure 9: Screenshot Virgin Atlantic Carbon Offsetting Scheme site, June 2015
Social media makes carbon offsetting fun
Figure 10: Screenshot from Stand for Trees website, June 2015
Drivers of CSR and corporate initiatives – Consumer health
Obesity costing the taxpayer £47 billion a year
Figure 11: Obesity prevalence of adults in England, by gender, 1993-2013
The war on sugar
Figure 12: Share of product launches in the UK food and non-alcoholic drinks market carrying a low/no/reduced sugar claim, by super
category, 2010-15
Encouraging more active lifestyles
Figure 13: Adults meeting the physical activity recommendations, by age and gender, England 2012
Addressing mental health
Drivers of CSR and corporate initiatives – Social issues
Consumers scrutinise corporate taxes
Dhaka disaster sparks awareness of exploitative labour practices
Gender equality in the workplace
Figure 14: UK median hourly earnings (£), by gender, 1997-2014
Government plans volunteering initiative
Ageing society presents new CSR opportunities
Figure 15: Trends in the number of over-65s in the UK, and as a proportion of the UK population, 2009-19
THE CONSUMER
What you need to know
Financial responsibility proves top ethical consideration
Ethical definitions differ depending on age
Animal welfare tops CSR considerations
Rise in number of consumers considering ethical labour practices
Consumers most ethical when buying FMCG goods
Bad news travels fast…
Consumers remain sceptical about genuineness of CSR
People are willing to punish companies for behaving badly
What makes a company ethical?
Financial responsibility proves top ethical consideration
Figure 16: Ethical company indicators, May 2015
Older people more likely to be swayed by environmental initiatives…
Figure 17: Selected ethical company indicators, by age, May 2015
…whilst younger adults prove more focused on charity
Figure 18: Ethical company indicators, by age, May 2015
Ethical considerations when shopping
Rise in interest in animal welfare
Figure 19: Ethical factors considered when shopping, December 2013 and May 2015
Fairtrade label remains relevant
Older people drive rise in ethical labour considerations
Figure 20: % point change in the proportion of adults that are influenced to buy products “Made by a company with ethical labour practices”,
by age, December 2013-May 2015
Reinvigorating interest in Made in Britain claims
Figure 21: Made in Britain logo, June 2015
Rise in proportion of adults with no ethical considerations
Figure 22: Number of green factors considered when shopping, December 2013 and May 2015
Does CSR matter?
Consumers most ethical when buying FMCG goods
Figure 23: Ethical consideration taken into account, by retail sector, May 2015
Over half of all adults think ethically when buying food and drink
Figure 24: Selected ethical considerations taken into account, all vs those that consider corporate ethics when buying food and drink (for inhome
consumption), May 2015
Ethical considerations low when purchasing technology products
Financial services companies scrutinised over tax performance
CSR considerations differ between genders
Figure 25: Ethical company indicators, by those that consider how ethical a brand is before buying financial services products, May 2015
Figure 26: Ethical considerations taken into account, by retail sector, by gender, May 2015
Sources of information for companies’ behaviour
Guilty until proven innocent
Figure 27: Screenshot of a Google search with keywords ‘unethical behaviour’, June 2015
Unethical behaviour makes a big impression
Figure 28: Sources of information about companies’ ethical initiatives and unethical behaviour, May 2015
Social media resonates with Millennials
Figure 29: Social media as a source of information about ethical initiatives and unethical behaviour, by age, May 2015
Companies operating in a glass house
Figure 30: Screenshot of Twitter responses to an invitation by British Gas to its users to ask the company about price rises, June 2015
Figure 31: Screenshot of a Twitter conversation between a Sainsbury’s customer and the supermarket, June 2015
Product packaging
Figure 32: New product launches, by selected ethical and environmental claims, UK, July 2014-June 2015 and July 2013-June 2014
Attitudes towards corporate ethics
Buying ethical is not as straightforward as it may seem
Figure 33: Selected attitudes towards corporate ethics, May 2015
Ethics matter to Millennials
People are willing to punish companies for bad behaviour
Figure 34: Selected attitudes towards corporate ethics, by generations, May 2015
Scepticism about CSR is still rife
Figure 35: Selected attitudes towards corporate ethics, May 2015
Ethical typologies
Figure 36: Ethical consumer segmentation, May 2015
The Super Ethical (21%)
Figure 37: Agreement with the statement “I don’t generally base my purchasing decision on corporate ethics”, by ethical consumer typologies,
May 2015
Ethical in Principle (32%)
Figure 38: Agreement with the statement “People should boycott companies that act unethically”, by ethical consumer typologies, May 2015
The Sceptics (22%)
Figure 39: Agreement with the statement “Companies are only ethical when it benefits them”, by ethical consumer typologies, May 2015
The Indifferents (25%)
APPENDIX
Data sources, abbreviations and supporting information
Definitions
Data sources
Abbreviations
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

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