Corporate Responsibility (CR) issues are picking up steam, with expectations of businesses becoming increasingly public, especially those in the environmental sector. Consumers
feel confused about the issues and the role they as individuals can play. They are looking to business to help them.
Those were major themes at an in-depth conference called "The Responsible Retailing Summit," sponsored by The Retail Bulletin and held in London on January 30-31. The conference
provided rich detail about changing consumer attitudes, and about how businesses should structure, carry out and communicate CR efforts. It also identified some trends expected during
the next few years. Smart companies should plan now to address these trends. It also spotlighted similarities and differences in the way corporate responsibility issues are evolving
in the UK and U.S.
The environment has now surpassed employees as the number one issue UK consumers want companies to focus on, mirroring research done by us at Cone LLC that shows growing interest
by American consumers in environmental issues. Jenny Dawkins, head of CR research at Ipsos MORI, reports that recycling and packaging are the two environmental areas UK consumers
most want to hear about from company communications. By comparison, people are having trouble understanding climate change issues and see those as a lesser priority in company
communications, although experts and activists feel differently.
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