The inaugural Business to Society Survey found that 57% of business leaders believe they should be doing more to tackle social issues, while 63% of consumers believe the same.
Yet, while the most popular issues that businesses feel they should be involved in were helping people into employment (80%), and supporting local communities (71%); the least popular issues were reducing loneliness (25%), tackling homelessness (25%) and providing better care for older people (28%).
Commenting on the findings, Amanda Powell Smith, CEO of Forster Communications, said: "There remains a real opportunity for progressive organisations to look beyond the expected and find ways to tackle less ‘popular’ issues such as loneliness or mental health, that have a critical impact on individual quality of life.
"We believe social good is not a bolt-on but an essential, profitable ingredient in new business models and this survey backs that up. Businesses who engage on causes, starting from their own employees through to their suppliers and customers, become better businesses, simple as that."
One of the most productive ways businesses can tackle social and environmental issues is through developing partnerships with charities. Recent high profile examples include:
• Tesco and Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation
• Iceland and the Children’s Food Trust
• Breast Cancer Care and the FA
• Rethink and Legal and General
• Macmillan and Boots
Forster Communications is launching a new service for businesses to help them develop engagement programmes and find the right charities to partner with to deliver long term positive change - find out more at www.forster.co.uk