Executives Recognize that Consumer Preference is Affected by the Perception of Corporate Behaviors, Ethisphere Survey Finds

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2016 Global Ethics Summit® Survey Illustrates the Impact of Corporate Ethics and Behavior on Growth and Profitability

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94% of respondents indicated that the real-time nature of social media impacts companies’ accountability, especially for their behaviors

The world is paying close attention to corporate ethics, and many international companies are beginning to recognize the impact that their behaviors have on profitability, according to a new survey released today by the Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices.

In fact, in terms of consumer preference, more than 84 percent of survey respondents believe powerful buying audiences like millennials would be willing to pay more for goods or services from a company that is recognized as a good corporate citizen. More than half of individuals (53 percent) also said good corporate citizenship is very important for consumers when selecting a financial services company.

Ethisphere polled 120 ethics & compliance, C-suite and other top-level executives across industries and regions at its 2016 Global Ethics Summit, held on March 9-10, 2016 in New York City.

The survey demonstrated the impact of social media on corporate behavior given the attention being paid to the smallest of details associated with companies’ financial transparency, the treatment of employees, sustainability and other corporate actions. 94 percent of respondents indicated that the real-time nature of social media impacts companies’ accountability, especially for their behaviors; 49 percent indicated that they consider this impact to be extreme.

“Smart executives are truly recognizing that millennials, and consumers in general, are paying close attention to whether the companies they support are promoting best practices,” said Ethisphere CEO, Timothy Erblich. “The advent of social media has given companies an unprecedented platform to engage with customers and stakeholders. The C-suite can either choose to lead and be recognized for best practices or face scrutiny in real-time.”

The importance of corporate citizenship in selecting a financial services company came as no surprise to the CEO of one of the leading retirement firms in the United States. “In recent years, all stakeholder groups, especially customers, have increasingly made decisions based on their view of a business from a corporate citizenship perspective,” said Rodney O. Martin, Jr., chairman and CEO of Voya Financial, one of Ethisphere’s 2016 World’s Most Ethical Companies®. “We know that each day, Americans are placing their trust in Voya to help them plan, invest and protect their savings — and we are committed to maintaining a culture of ethics worthy of that trust.”

Additional survey findings include:

  •     Ethics-related change lies with the C-suite: Over half (53 percent) of respondents indicated that C-level executives primarily drive ethics-related change within their companies; followed by the board of directors (22 percent) and middle management (16 percent).
  •     Training programs and workshops are the most effective way to promote ethical behavior: The majority of respondents (43 percent) said training programs and workshops have been the most effective way of promoting ethical behavior at their company. Only 8 percent of individuals explained that ‘incentive/reward’ based programs for ethical behavior were most effective.
  •     Employee recruitment, retention and reward are in the spotlight: When asked where their company has the most room to improve, the highest number of respondents (37 percent) selected employee recruitment, retention and reward. This was followed by sustainability initiatives (22 percent), financial transparency (18 percent) and counterparty product sourcing and supply chain management (13 percent).

The full results of the survey can be found at http://insights.ethisphere.com/global-ethics-summit-survey-results/.

About the Ethisphere Institute
The Ethisphere® Institute is the global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices that fuel corporate character, marketplace trust and business success. Ethisphere has deep expertise in measuring and defining core ethics standards using data-driven insights that help companies enhance corporate character. Ethisphere honors superior achievement through its World’s Most Ethical Companies® recognition program, provides a community of industry experts with the Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA) and showcases trends and best practices in ethics with the publication of Ethisphere magazine. More information about Ethisphere can be found at: http://ethisphere.com.

Media Contacts
Clea Nabozny
480.397.2658
Clea.Nabozny(at)ethisphere(dot)com

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Ethisphere
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