Ethical standards important to UK workers

Nearly half (47%) of UK workers believe companies can achieve higher environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards without sacrificing profitability, according to new research. 

Another one in eight (12%) say profits should be impacted if necessary to raise such standards but a quarter (24%) say they would be unwilling to accept sacrificing profitability for the sake of ESG.

Around two in five (38%) UK workers believe their company’s consideration of ethical issues has risen over the last five years, according to new research.

The research, involving a panel of 500 respondents comprising owners, chief executives and directors as well as other staff, reveals that more than half (52%) of workers believe companies should consider ESG issues because it is “morally the correct thing to do”.

However, the study also reveals a degree of pragmatism: 28% say ESG issues need to be considered to legally protect their company, while over a quarter (26%) say that ethical considerations are ultimately necessary to be more successful.

Despite the growing concerns, UK companies are remarkably reticent when it comes to highlighting their efforts with regards to ESG. For example, the majority of workers (53%) say their companies do not publicise their ESG activities at all. The most popular platform for doing so is internal communications but only one in five (21%) uses this.

Indeed, 27% of respondents say they have no idea whether their company is planning to improve its approach to ESG issues.

Jonathan Flint, MD at communications firm Citigate Dewe Rogerson, which commissioned the poll together with the Better Society Network, said “it is surprising that our research shows how little companies are doing to highlight their ESG activities”.

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