Research and corporate responsibility – supporting management decision-making

Brian Gosschalk and Jenny Dawkins
MORI, United Kingdom

INTRODUCTION

A new age of business has dawned. It is an age in which companies are increasingly asked to account for their social and environmental impacts, in addition to their economic performance. It is an age in which companies are held accountable not only to shareholders, but to a broad range of stakeholders, including wider society. As Niall FitzGerald, recent chairman of Unilever, has noted:

The world in which we operate is changing. Consumers are increasingly bringing their views as citizens into their buying decisions, demanding more from the companies behind the brands.1

Certainly some commentators are looking for companies to take immediate and far-reaching action. For example, Paul Hawken points to the gap between the extent of some companies' current efforts on environmental management, and the scale of the issues currently facing the world, such as climate change and the exhaustion of the earth's resources: