Business Ethics and the Consumer: Event Summary

Corporate Social Responsibility

Alex Reidegeld

Senior Events Executive

The Financial Services Forum

Our first event after the summer break looked at the role a well thought-out corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy can play in your brand strategy. As corporate responsibility continues to climb the political and business agenda, Alex Reidegeld from The Financial Services Forum finds out what financial services companies are doing and how they can re-evaluate their wider role in society.

Setting the scene
Ahead of the event, we asked our Members to tell us to what extent they have embedded CSR in their brand strategy. We found that 19% of Members have fully embedded CSR, 65% have partially embedded it, 13% are yet to consider it, and 4% are unlikely to ever consider embedding it.

Here is what some of our Members had to say:

“The best thing about our CSR programme is how motivating it is for our team to be involved and feel like they are also making a positive impact on people’s lives. I think people want a higher purpose and to know that it’s not just about the profit.”

“As a business we feel CSR is important. Because we are a mutual society we feel we should be doing more for our communities. It aids employee and customer engagement and helps build awareness for non-commercial gain. However, our customers are not always looking for the soft stuff – they want commercial gains!”

“We talk about it and we show our customers what we do from a CSR perspective and what we value – but we’re not there in fully embedding it in strategy yet. Why? Because CSR is headed up by someone as an ‘additional job’ so it’s not given the full strategy it needs on its own.”

The key take-aways from the event
• Corporate responsibility continues to rise on the political agenda. Examples include the sugar tax, possible ban on single-use plastics and increasing pressure to disclose disparities in gender pay.
• Mere compliance with regulations and doing the bare minimum, is not enough.
• 87% of consumers think businesses should place equal weight on societal issues.
• Having a brand purpose can help companies to show they care about more than just profit.
• 16-34-year olds pay more attention to adverts that address significant societal issues that they care about.
• 2/3 of consumers say they can’t see a difference between financial services companies.

Thank you to our speakers
David Schofield, Group Head of Corporate Responsibility, Aviva
Becky Willan, Managing Director, Given London
Rob Taffinder, Senior Social Investment Manager, Nationwide Building Society
Neil Davy, CEO, Corporate Citizenship (Chair)

Additional Reading
To access the speakers’ slides, please click on the links below. You will need to be logged in to access them.


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