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7 in 10 marketing professionals judge a potential employer on CSR track-record

EMR’s research reveals a majority consensus that the best use of CSR budgets is spending on local community projects, with 56% taking this view.

Almost one in five (19%) marketing professionals favour environmental projects, while contributions to charities or not-for-profit organisations (13%) are preferred over funding global health projects (12%).

Marks & Spencer ranked first among consumer brands

Among consumer brands on the 2013 BITC Corporate Responsibility Index*, marketing professionals judge Marks & Spencer to be the most recognised for its CSR achievements (21%).  Retailers make up three of the top four voted by marketers, with the Co-operative (20%) second and Sainsbury’s (14%) fourth.

The BBC wins the battle of the broadcasters and placed third overall with 17% of the vote – more than twice the 8% awarded to Sky – while in the banking sector, Barclays ranks above Lloyds with 5% and 1% of the vote respectively.

Table 1: The consumer face of CSR – best known brands

Top five brands for CSR commitments

Marks and Spencer (21%)

Co-operative (20%)

BBC (17%)

Sainsbury’s (14%)

Sky (8%)

CSR spending by the FTSE 100 up 11% in past two years

EMR’s research also shows the average FTSE 100 firm channelled 11% more finance towards CSR initiatives in 2013 than in 2011.

Two years ago FTSE firms spent an average &pound12.5m on CSR, equivalent to just 0.5% of pre-tax profits. By comparison in 2013 CSR spending among FTSE companies averaged &pound13.9m – equivalent to 0.8% of pre-tax profits.

However, with earnings down by 3% in 2013, both figures are down from 2012 when firms typically spent &pound16.6m on CSR or 0.9% of pre-tax profits.

Oil, gas and mining businesses make the biggest financial contribution to CSR, spending &pound35.4m on average in the last year: 2.5 times the norm of &pound13.9m among the FTSE 100. Leisure and retail firms commit the greatest share of pre-tax profits at 1.8%: more than double the FTSE 100 average of 0.8%.

Table 2: CSR spending by the FTSE 100 – the biggest spenders

Biggest spenders by value

Biggest spenders as a % of profits

Oil, gas and mining (&pound35.4m)

Leisure and retail (1.8%)

Food and beverages (&pound27.7m)

Property (1.6%)

Finance (&pound19.6m)

Media, publishing and comms (1.4%)

Simon Bassett, Managing Director of EMR, said:

“In today’s digital age, brand commitment to corporate social responsibility is more important than ever before as customers, staff and even investors look for a degree of social conscience and accountability from the businesses they deal with.

“Making purposeful contributions to meaningful projects and campaigns plays a key role in businesses’ efforts to encourage loyalty and motivate employees. A positive CSR image can be an immensely powerful tool in attracting, retaining and empowering the best talent.

“It is therefore critical that the UK’s top listed firms continue to invest in their CSR programmes and give them the utmost importance and prioritise such expenditures – even if profits take a hit. As the findings among marketers suggest, a good CSR reputation can be the difference between landing the best employee and narrowly missing out”.


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