UK

Businesses with reputation for kindness more likely to succeed, report finds

The report also found that technology companies were most frequently cited as kind, followed by retail (Andrew Matthews/PA)
The report also found that technology companies were most frequently cited as kind, followed by retail (Andrew Matthews/PA) The report also found that technology companies were most frequently cited as kind, followed by retail (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Businesses with a reputation for kindness are more likely to experience stronger growth, a new analysis has found.

A poll, from management consultancy Baringa, asked 6,028 consumers in seven countries to name companies they considered “kind” and “unkind” before comparing their earnings data over the decade up to 2022.

The analysis suggests that companies which are considered kind were 35% more likely to have doubled their earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITDA) in the decade up to 2022.

It also found that companies considered unkind were 20% more likely to have seen their EBITDA shrink in the same period compared to companies with a reputation for kindness.

Meanwhile, 61% of respondents – from the UK, US, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland and Singapore – said they refused to buy a product or service in the past two years because they considered the vendor to be unkind.

The report also found that technology companies were most frequently cited as kind, followed by retail.

Meanwhile, respondents most often referred to e-commerce, food and beverage and fashion companies as unkind.

Baringa said the results show that firms perceived to have taken actions commonly associated with kindness and a good Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) performance – including good treatment of staff or suppliers and taking public stands on ethical issues – are more likely to succeed.

Anya Davis, a partner at the firm, said: “Doing the right thing is too often dismissed as woolly, soft, or somehow not worthy of red-blooded capitalism.

“These figures prove that it is the opposite. If you are perceived as kind, you are also more likely to grow faster.

“This is a correlation that hints at a reassuring truth: kindness and business success are mutually-compatible, not mutually-exclusive.”

She added: “We should not ditch ESG as being anti-business – we should embrace ESG because it’s pro-business.”