A YouGov survey commissioned by PR Week found that customers view ‘The Co-operative’ as the most ethical and responsible brand in the UK. Employee owned John Lewis came second in their preferences.
The poll surveyed 2,083 UK adults who were asked to rate 23 enterprises including Apple, Google, Tesco, Coca-Cola and Starbucks. Around 59% of them rated ‘The Co-operative’ brand as very or fairly ethical and responsible with 58% saying the same about John Lewis. Another retailer that made the top three was Sainsbury’s, with 52% of respondents rating it as fairly ethical and responsible. Next on the list were Virgin Group (43%) and British Airways (37%).
When asked what influenced their perception of a business as ethical, 89% of those surveyed said the treatment of staff and customers was very or fairly important. Other factors taken into account were the treatment of customers (88%) and paying a fair share of tax (86%).
Technology giants Apple and Google scored relatively low, with 35% and 34%, respectively, of those surveyed saying they believed the brands were very or fairly ethical and responsible. Similarly, Facebook was perceived as ethical by only 24% of those surveyed. The bottom five companies were Shell (20%), Starbucks (18%), Npower (18%), RBS (18%) and Ryanair (13%).
The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest consumer co-operative owned by over eight million members. The society operates around 3,750 outlets, with more than 70,000 employees and an annual turnover of approximately £10bn. The Group was recently overtaken by John Lewis in the Co-operative Economy index, which has become the UK’s biggest co-operative, with a turnover of £10.942bn.
Commenting on the results of the survey, Russ Brady, head of group PR at the Co-operative Group, said: “We have since our inception looked to do the right thing, even in the most challenging of times. This clearly resonates in the hearts and minds of the public and something we can now build upon as we move forwards in the years ahead.”