Honda ranks top in UK for Corporate Social Responsibility in first global automotive survey
TNS study reveals consumers in emerging markets rate automotive companies higher on CSR than consumers in the West
London, UK: April 25, 2006 Honda has been ranked top automotive company in the UK for its corporate social responsibility, in a new study conducted by TNS Automotive – the world’s leading automotive research company.
Top also in the US and Indonesia, Honda ranks alongside BMW in Spain and Italy, Toyota in Japan, Korea, and Thailand and Volvo Trucks in Sweden and Netherlands in the 2006 Global Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) study of over 16,000 people across 16 countries. Other global market leaders were Shell in China, Michelin in France, Porsche in Germany, Bharat Petroleum in India, Nissan in Mexico, and Petronas in Malaysia.
The study was carried out to understand the general public’s perception of automotive companies in regards to compliance and contribution towards corporate, social, environmental and philanthropic activities. Consumers were asked to rate companies from the passenger car, commercial vehicle, motorcycle, tyre, and oil sectors, and results reveal that consumers in emerging markets such as Thailand, India and China rate automotive companies higher in regards to corporate social responsibility than mature markets of the West.
Moreover, the public in these countries expect automotive corporations to take an active role in the economic and social development of their country, by generating jobs and improving quality of life.
With regard to broader purchase patterns, the results also highlight a big disparity in general attitudes towards CSR between emerging and mature markets – with eighty-five percent of consumers in Indonesia having bought a product or service specifically because it was produced in a responsible way, compared with just 54 per cent of consumers in the UK.
Chris Bonsi, regional director TNS Automotive explains:
“Thailand, India, and China have recorded phenomenal industry growth in the automotive sector and consumers in these markets see automotive companies playing an integral role in the economic and social development of their country. Conversely, the governments of some emerging markets do not fully recognise the contribution of the automotive sector in generating jobs for their country – in some cases, levying high taxes on the automotive sector because the end-products are seen to be luxury items that only a few can afford, without considering the jobs the sector creates for everyday people manufacturing, distributing, and servicing these products.”
Bonsi adds, “By contrast, our study reveals that consumers in more mature markets rate the automotive sector poorly in terms of job generation and environmental impact. In these markets, companies need to focus hard on improving their reputation for corporate social responsibility.”
Rémy Pothet, Global Director TNS Automotive, comments:
“Large corporations are increasingly aware that their social responsibility directly affects their image and brand equity – and consequently, their business success. As a result, many are investing heavily in CSR initiatives – particularly in those markets where they are focusing on expansion. The results of our study highlight the public’s growing interest in the field of CSR, and makes a direct link between this and their purchasing behaviour – so supporting the case for investment in CSR. By repeating the study annually, automotive companies can glean vital insight into how their target consumers are viewing their CSR practices, and therefore how these practices are influencing their business success.”
Bonsi concludes, “The general public is a very important stakeholder for the automotive industry as a corporation’s reputation is often judged in the court of public opinion. Corporations that fail to engage society often suffer serious consequences when there is a crisis. However, corporations that develop strong public goodwill can use this as ‘social insurance’ to tide them over during difficult periods. The CSR champions identified by this study are already seeing the value in their investment; now other companies, need to take notice.”