The Swiss are the most socially responsible people in Europe, according to a new study published in Belgium. It was presented at the first European convention on the social responsibility of business.
Of 12,000 people questioned in 12 countries, 44 per cent said they were prepared to pay more for products which conferred social benefits, or whose manufacture did not harm the environment.
When it came to putting these convictions into practice, the study found the Swiss were twice as likely as their European neighbours to behave in a socially responsible way.
According to the report, every second Swiss citizen carried out five types of actions per year which could be deemed socially responsible: recycling rubbish, giving money to a good cause, buying a product for ethical or ecological reasons, buying organic produce, and campaigning for a good cause.
The study also found the Swiss were more critical than other Europeans of the lack of social responsibility shown by business. Almost two thirds of the Swiss questioned disapproved of business practices, compared to just over half of respondents of other nationalities.
The report concluded that business should make efforts to improve its negative image by introducing sexual equality across the board, employing handicapped people and providing training. It said companies should also refuse to sell products made using child labour.
swissinfo with agencies