Corporate values of UK retailers are more focussed on environment, integrity and
social responsibility than they are on quality, performance or competitiveness- in
direct contrast to trends in Europe, the US and Asia.
This is a key finding in the
first International Corporate Values Index, a study of 3,236 businesses across 12
countries and 14 sectors carried out by global PR network ECCO International.
The top three UK corporate values identified were environment ( 33%), integrity
(31%) with customer satisfaction and social responsibility sharing third place
(30%). This is in direct contrast to the top values identified across all
territories researched. Quality topped the international list of corporate values
with 38% companies (only ranking 6th in UK with 24%), followed by innovation (37%
versus 26% in the UK and placed 5th ). The rest of the world ranked environmental
values 6th overall at 19%, integrity 4th at 19% and social responsibility 9th at
In the UK tourism industry the figures for environment and social responsibility are
even more significant. 50% of companies put environment and customer service as
their top corporate values, both significantly higher than the national average.
However, performance ranks equal first at 50%, against a national average of 16%,
and quality also ranks high at 38% against a national average of 24%.
The findings reflect a recognition amongst UK companies that sustainability does not
have to be at odds with performance. A comparison of the FTSE4Good Global index,
(which measures the performance of UK companies that meet globally recognised
corporate responsibility standards), with the FTSE100 index of the UK’s most highly
capitalised shares shows increasing convergence over the past five years.
Moreover, a recent poll from the Trade Justice Movement showed that 90 per cent of
voters think “the Government should set out enforceable rules to ensure companies
are socially responsible”.
While the Corporate Values Index UK results vary significantly from the results as a
whole, the UK does not stand entirely alone. While France puts innovation as its top
corporate value, its placings for integrity and customer satisfaction match those of
the UK, and like the UK it ranks quality in 6th place. Spain has equal ranking with
the UK for social responsibility, and puts environmental values in second place.
The study went on to reveal:
* Germany has a more international focus than the rest of the world by placing
international values in 4th place in its top 10 (UK ranks international values in
19th place, USA ranks international values in 68th place)
* Only 6% of the total base ranked enthusiasm as a value ( UK ranking 27th)
* The Global average number of corporate values is 4.8 per company - an ideal
number in terms of company focus, and one to which the UK, France, India and Norway
adhere. Germany, however, averages 7.7 values per company, while Spain and Italy
under-deliver with 2.7 and 2.9 values per company respectively.
“There’s nothing new about companies having values, but they are increasingly
conspicuous and accountable.” says Rose Bentley, director of ECCO International UK
partner agency Kinross + Render. “The opportunity for UK businesses is to grasp the
positive impact they can have, especially on communication. The UK business focus on
societal and moral values reflects a society which is more in tune with the
environmental impact of its actions, more demanding in what it wants from its
suppliers, and more.