Research conducted by the University of Valencia, Spain suggests that businesses which treat their employees well, conduct honest marketing, focus on sustainability and minimise their environmental impacts not only contribute to the ‘common good’ but can do so without detriment to their financial performance.
Out of 400 companies with a Common Good Balance Sheet across Europe, 206 responded to the survey. Here are some of the findings:
- 86% of ECG businesses reported a positive impact on their reputation.
- 82% reported improvements in motivation and well-being in the workplace.
Positive impacts (reported by over 75% of businesses) were found in the areas of:
- sustainable supplies and use of local suppliers
- reduced carbon footprint caused by supply and logistics
- minimising environmental impacts of production and logistics
- prioritising environmentally sustainable investments
- monitoring ethical behaviour of banks and financial services suppliers
- staff input into decision-making
- relations between staff and management
- fair and transparent product / service information to customers
- customer trust
- cooperation with customers
- cooperation with local social movements
95% of companies said that all these positive impacts on their business operations had been achieved at no detriment to sales. 26% said there had actually been a positive impact on revenue.
Similarly, 85% said there had been no adverse effect on profit while 19% said profitability had been improved.
One of the participating businesses commented:
“My work has become more meaningful. Customers are treated as equals. New contacts have been made. New markets have opened up. The company is prepared for the future.”
ECG co-founder, Christian Felber, who attended the presentation of the research in Vienna in February said:
“For many years CSR has been considered by many business managers as an adjunct to the main purpose of the business and a PR attempt to buy reputation despite, not because of, what is happening in other parts of the company.
Summarising the findings of this research, we can conclude that businesses that integrate ethical, caring and sustainability practices into the core of their operation are investing wisely not only in their own futures but in the future of society at large. That is the Common Good.”