Companies should be forced to include the social and environmental impact of their business when considering their profitability, according to the results of a YouGov poll on non-financial reporting requirements
A survey of 639 people found that 40% of UK citizens believe that companies should be forced to include more than just their net rate of return and financial value, giving focus to the sustainability of their operations and their impact on society as well.
65% of those polled were not aware that companies do not currently have to take such steps when assessing their profitability.
Additional reporting requirements were most popular among those aged 25-34, with support for social impact statements among millennials rising to 44% compared to the whole.
15% of respondents believed that their investments should maximise their financial returns with no consideration of their impact on society or the environment. 11% of those polled believed that only financial values should be included in a company’s financial accounts.
The poll reflects a shift in public opinion in recent years, with companies under increasing pressure to take non-financial considerations into account. In December 2018, audit firm Deloitte issued a report predicting an ongoing focus on the effects of climate change on financial services.
The YouGov survey was produced for Social Value UK, a national network focussing on social impact and value. Ben Carpenter, CEO of the company, said: ‘The overall value or profitability of a company is highly important as it informs key decisions, from setting share prices to informing economic analysis.
‘This has not escaped the attention of members of the public, who now clearly expect companies to account for their social and environmental impact, as well as their financial performance.
‘We believe there is a huge opportunity to radically reshape the way that we calculate the value of a company, with a growing body of professionals already proving that it can be done.’
Report by James Bunney