Insight & Analysis

Press release: A third of UK banking and finance businesses don’t believe in the value of CSR

Published: Apr 2022

5th April 2022 – CSR efforts, whether large or small, say a lot about your business. Studies prove that companies who consistently demonstrate a commitment to protecting and empowering their employees can not only expect loyal staff but can also attract a growing client and consumer base. A three-year study found companies with a good CSR rating have returns 19% higher than those with a poor rating.

Newspaper press release

As we enter 2022, consumers and employees are looking for transparency and authenticity from companies, with 59% of consumers stating that businesses have a responsibility to social good.

So, what are UK businesses doing to champion CSR? Tyl surveyed UK business owners to find out what Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) means to them and how this translates into business success.

The data reveals that over half of UK businesses (52%) do not have a clear CSR strategy. This was highest among Welsh businesses at 64%. However, a third (33%) of UK businesses have incorporated CSR in their businesses and this rose to 40% among banking/finance companies.

Despite this, 36% of UK business owners believe CSR initiatives are very important, with 52% of them stating that it adds value to their business. Among businesses in the finance industry, 47% believe CSR initiatives are important, with a third (33%) stating they are extremely important. 47% of banking and finance businesses believe effective CSR can add value to a business and Tyl’s data supports this, showing that taking CSR seriously can see benefits not only for people and the planet – but for profits too.

However, 40% of businesses in the banking and finance industry claim they don’t see any benefits when implementing CSR initiatives and a third (33%) don’t believe effective CSR can add value, the highest of any industry. Could this be due to ineffective CSR policies? Or are businesses facing significant barriers that are preventing them from implementing a successful CSR strategy?

Tyl asked business owners what they consider to be the main barriers that prevent them from implementing a CSR strategy. 37% of business owners cited a lack of resources as the main barrier. Among banking and finance businesses, key barriers to implementation identified are:

  • Lack of resources (33%)

  • Lack of measurement system (27%)

  • Financial considerations (27%)

The pandemic has posed many challenges for UK businesses, but can challenging times be the catalyst for positive change? Research conducted by Pennies found over half of consumers (53%) think the covid-19 pandemic has seen a more caring society that’s mindful of other people’s hardships. Interestingly, almost half (47%) of banking and finance business owners state that they could improve on their current CSR strategy, with 47% also pledging their organisation will be more committed to CSR in 2022.

Once a business has the capability to implement a CSR plan, what are the most urgent social issues that need addressing? Across all industries, Health, wellbeing, and equality was cited as the most important societal development by 46% of respondents. In the finance industry, the most important cause was health, wellbeing, and equality (33%), followed by climate change (27%) and technology and innovation (27%).

With millions of people now reassessing their work and life priorities in the wake of the pandemic, Tyl’s findings provide UK businesses with an opportunity to reset their relationship with not only their staff, but consumers more widely too.

Mike Elliff, CEO of Tyl comments: “It is now more important than ever that businesses are invested in CSR – not only are consumers more motivated to purchase from companies who do good, but young professionals are more prone to seek employment with a business that recognises the needs of the community.

We must all play a part in enacting positive social change and that’s why I’m so proud that Tyl by Natwest donates a portion of our revenue to our Giveback Community Fund for every payment we process for our merchants.”

The full details of this research can be found here.

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