Businesses in the UK need to shout about their ethical credentials as much as they do about their products, according to the findings of a new survey.
UK waste management agency Business Waste polled 2,000 shoppers about their high street habits and found that 90% said they take a business's ethical record and accreditation into account when it comes to things like paying taxes and environmental issues.
It shows that window-shopping and online browsing are not just about looking at products and prices; today's consumers are also looking for evidence that businesses are responsible and ethical.
For example, 95% look for hygiene certificates and 75% want to see indications that companies they use are taking care of the planet. In addition, 45% say they would only consider using businesses that pay their tax in the UK.
The research also shows that it is not enough for companies to claim that they have outstanding service, cleanliness or environmental procedures -consumers want to see official ratings and certificates that come with a stamp of authority. Poll results show that 67% of consumers say they wouldn't trust a business's claims about its own performance unless they were also backed up by formal certification.
Shoppers are also concerned about the way employers treat their own staff, the study shows. It says: "customers are also shopping around for businesses with happy and loyal staff, demonstrating that businesses are looking after their employees properly behind the scenes".
Mark Hall, spokesperson for Business Waste, said: "What we're finding is that customers are becoming more and more discerning with the growing amount of choice they have and are aware of bad business practice too. It's not just your products or services they're buying into, but your business ethos as well, so it's now more important than ever to get and display your credentials. As a business you need to be constantly telling potential customers who you are, and proving that you're one of the good guys, to inspire that loyalty."