05. 11. 2021 Corporate responsibility

Almost everyboody in Slovakia expects companies to implement responsible activities beyond what is required by the law, the survey showed

As many as 91% of people in Slovakia think that companies should, besides making a profit, also implement activities beyond what is required by the law, such as protecting the environment, caring for employees, supporting the surrounding community and communicating their activities transparently and openly. Mitigating the effects of climate change should be a priority in particular. This information has emerged from a FOCUS survey conducted for the Business Leaders Forum, administered by the Pontis Foundation.

Every two years, the Business Leaders Forum, in cooperation with the FOCUS agency, conducts a survey of trends in the perception of responsible entrepreneurship (CSR) among the general public. A representative quantitative survey was conducted in September. It had the form of a questionnaire with a sample of 1,002 respondents aged 18 and over.

Environmental protection should be a priority

Under the term “responsible entrepreneurship”, people in Slovakia spontaneously imagine the consideration of the environment (25%), honesty in business (24%), care for employees and their families (19%) and non-abuse of employees (17%). “These categories have dominated the top four since 2013. However, this year has highlighted the importance of protecting the environment and honesty in business,” says Ivana Vagaská, Executive Director of the Business Leaders Forum.

When asked what topics companies should focus on primarily, people in Slovakia thought mostly of climate change mitigation. Then they named the support for the education of the young generation, the support for socially and medically disadvantaged groups and the fight against corruption. The same topics were also mentioned by the respondents in the 2019 survey.

People most often choose a healthy and safe working environment

The results of the survey also reflected the COVID-19 pandemic. When choosing from the list of activities of responsible companies, respondents stated that healthy and safe working conditions were the most important (62%). Furthermore, the importance of this category increased by up to 12 percentage points compared to 2019.

The importance of honesty in entrepreneurship also increased (54%). It came in second. Environmental protection (46%) and clear, honest and open communication of a company with its customers (45%) followed.

The connection of responsible entrepreneurship with the development and education of employees, retraining of employees (40%) and work-life balance (39%) have also been shown to be relatively strong.

“The survey has also shown us that when choosing a job, people prefer companies in which human-centred, respectful and open atmosphere prevails. Up to 51% of respondents consider this criterion important,” says I. Vagaská

Over half of people are willing to pay extra for a responsible product or service

For the first time, the survey also included questions on the willingness of people to pay extra for responsible products or services. Half of the respondents (54%) would be willing to pay extra for a product that is slightly more expensive than a regular product, which was made with the environment in mind, or it was made by people with health or other disadvantages. A quarter of people would pay up to 20% of the price of a normal product. Two thirds (68%) would pay up to 10% of the price.

Responsible companies are dominated by retail chains and telecommunications operators

The survey also examined spontaneous knowledge of companies doing business responsibly. The most frequently mentioned companies were Lidl (19%), Kaufland (12%) and Orange (12%). These companies are also members of the Business Leaders Forum. “These are companies that have communicated their philanthropic activities, as well as other aspects of their responsible entrepreneurship, for a long time now. They also try to educate customers in these topics, and thus increase their responsibility,” explains I. Vagaská.

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