66% of consumers will abandon hypocritical businesses, shows new research
- Polling of 2000 UK consumers showed that a majority would stop purchasing products or services from organizations whose behaviour is inconsistent with their stated purpose
- Research also shows a third of organizations lack a stated purpose beyond profit
- Findings highlight the importance of PAS808, the world’s first business standard for corporate purpose
London, 27 January 2023: Polling of UK consumers and business leaders reveals that close to half (47%) of consumers consider a company’s purpose when making a purchasing decision and that two-thirds (66%) will abandon a product or business acting inconsistently with its purpose – a sign that consumers have lost patience with organizations that do not follow the principles of purpose-driven organizations.
The data is even starker for younger age groups, with 74% of 18- to 24-year-olds actively considering purpose in buying decisions and 80% of that group saying they will abandon products or businesses acting inconsistently with their purpose. A parallel poll found that younger business leaders between the ages of 18 and 34 were more likely to lead organizations with a purpose beyond profit, with three-quarters of those under 34 saying they did so.
BSI has now published PAS 808: Purpose-Driven Organizations: Worldviews, Principles and Behaviours. This is the world’s first standard offering guidance to organizations globally on what corporate purpose is, what the principles and behaviours of a successful purpose-driven organization are, and how organizations can align their decision-making with their stated purpose. It has been designed to help them restore, rebuild, and embed public trust that they genuinely are purpose-led and committed to doing the right thing.
The survey also found that 68% of all consumers are willing to spend more with an organization that keeps to its stated purpose.
Yet the poll of UK business leaders shows only a fifth (21%) agree that a lack of purpose is detrimental to business, indicating a disconnect between how organizations and consumers view the importance of purpose.
Most, but not all, organizations have a stated, written purpose beyond profit – close to two-thirds (63%) according to the survey. And nearly four-fifths (78%) consider the purpose of other organizations they use or work with. Nevertheless, two-thirds do not frame or measure the delivery of their purpose through an independent third party.
The data shows that almost three-quarters (74%) of business leaders would feel more confident in delivering on their purpose if there was a standardized method. Consumers share this sentiment, with nearly half saying it would be “fairly helpful” and nearly a third (31%) saying it would be “very helpful” if there was a standard that helped assess whether brands were keeping to their purpose.
The new standard published by BSI is a practical guide to help organizations develop their own strategies and approaches to enact and embed purpose in their policies, processes, practices, products, services, and value networks. The guide establishes common terms and definitions related to the purpose and outlines the worldviews, principles and associated behaviours and activities of a purpose-driven organization.
Anne Hayes, Director of Sectors, BSI said: “The research demonstrates that urgent action is needed to align organizations with a sustainable future. There is a growing consensus that purpose-driven organizations may hold the key and that there could be a clear dividend to business purposes.
“We live in an age where organizations that lose the trust of their customers also stand to lose their business. PAS 808 represents a watershed moment in helping them meet the pressing challenge of aligning their purpose with their actions. We are proud to have convened a range of stakeholders to demystify what a good purpose-driven organization looks like and provide a framework for accountability.”
The standard is freely available to download here.
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Notes to Editors:
Polling of 2000 UK consumers was conducted for BSI by OnePoll between the 28th of June 2022 and the 7th of July 2022.
Polling of 350 UK business leaders was conducted for BSI by OnePoll between the 28th of June 2022 and the 7th of July 2022.
The standard, PAS 808: Purpose-driven organizations – Worldviews, principles and behaviours for delivering sustainability – Guide, has been developed by a steering group of representatives from the following organizations: Anglian Water; B Lab UK; Blueprint for Better Business; Business in the Community; Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership; Chartered Management Institute; Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (UK); Future-Fit Foundation; JLL; John Lewis Partnership; KPMG; ReGenerate; The Wildlife Trusts; and WBCSD.
BSI is appointed by the UK Government as the National Standards Body and represents UK interests at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the European Standards Organizations (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI). BSI traces its origins to 1901 and became the world’s first National Standards Body. Its role is to help improve the quality, safety and integrity of products, services and systems by facilitating the creation and maintenance of consensus-based, market-led standards and encouraging their use. BSI publishes over 2,700 standards annually and withdraws over 1,500 old or superseded standards using a collaborative approach, engaging with industry experts, government bodies, trade associations, businesses of all sizes and consumers to develop standards that reflect good practice.
To learn more about standards, please visit: www.bsigroup.com/standards and for the National Standards Body: www.bsigroup.com/nsb