Consumers punishing ‘inactive’ corporates over Ukraine

Destroyed tank in Ukraine war

A new report suggests corporate inaction over the war between Russia and Ukraine has ‘large negative consequences’ when it comes to public trust.

Danone, Deutsche Telecom and BNP Paribas are “prime examples” of corporates being punished by consumers who feel let down by the way they are reacting to the war in Ukraine, according to a new survey.

Research carried out by Caliber, which tracks people’s trust in corporations in real-time, found that 83 per cent of respondents said they “pay attention” to how companies respond to the conflict, and 78 per cent expect companies to “actively respond” to the war.

Caliber said it had registered “significant drops in reputation levels” in the banking, telecom and oil and gas sectors, while it highlighted Danone and Societé Generale as being “heavily punished” for inaction, especially in their home markets.

Some 40 per cent of respondents said companies should provide humanitarian aid, while 36 per cent expect companies to cease operating in Russia, with 63 per cent supporting those that have done.

“Companies worldwide are constantly put under public scrutiny, and even more so during times of crisis,” said Caliber chief executive Shahar Silbershatz.

“The speed of their action, the clarity of their communication and the circumstances of their choices will have huge implications for how the public perceives them.”

In contrast, the survey also said the public were looking favourably upon oil and gas companies BP and Shell for taking action to support financial pressure on Russia.

The same goes for British-based Unilever, which stayed in Russia to provide Russians with everyday essential food and hygiene products.

Caliber said the survey was based on "perception data collected specifically on the role of companies related to the war" between 15 and 25 March 2022. It spoke to 3,177 consumers in the UK, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan and the US.

This story first appeared on PRWeek UK.

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