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Socially responsible businesses more likely to survive pandemic, suggests BRC chief


British Retail Consortium chief executive, Helen Dickinson, has advised retailers and other businesses that having a social purpose could aid in their survival over the coming months.

She spoke at a business panel convened by the micro-donation charity Pennies, saying there has been “a structural shift in the way people shop”, referring to the consumer’s newfound focus on a business’s responsibility and sustainability in its business practices.

She added that “doing the right thing as a board makes for better business for the company, and the environment in which it operates”.

“The time is now,” Dickinson summarised. “The pandemic has given us the momentum to drive social change in retail businesses.”

The event hosts, Pennies, enable a customer ‘micro-donation’ option for consumer businesses to raise vital income for the UK charity sector.

Through an ecosystem of retailers, hospitality brands, tech and payment companies and UK charities, the charity makes it easy and affordable for UK consumers to give a little, digitally, to charity as they shop.

Pennies CEO, Alison Hutchinson, said: “During the first national lockdown, around 80% of our brand partners’ physical or digital doors shut to consumers, yet incredibly in the first 10 months of 2020 we saw consumer donation volumes 10% higher than at the same point in 2019 – which is quite remarkable.

“In the last 10 years we’ve enabled 100million consumer micro-donations, benefitting over 600 charities and totalling over £27m.

“But with the support of more brands, tech partners, charities and consumers we want to enable our next 100million by 2023. That’s our invitation and challenge to join-in our micro-donation movement!”

Recent polling of over 2000+ UK consumers by Pennies found that 74% think businesses have a responsibility to do social good, and 59% are more likely to shop at a business that is clear about their ethical stance.


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