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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Workers in emerging countries are more concerned about corporate behavior than employees in more developed nations, according to a poll released on Tuesday.
The Ipsos survey of 24 nations showed that feelings about corporate responsibility were highest in Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia and India, where more than half of workers said it was very important for their employers to be responsible to society and the environment.
But in Japan and France less than 20 percent of workers felt the same way, and in Spain, Belgium, Germany, South Korea and China the number was less than 30 percent.
In other developed nations it ranged from 30 percent in Britain and 32 percent in the United States to 35 percent in Australia and 37 percent in Canada.
"The main finding, no matter where you look, is that companies can't neglect corporate social responsibility. People say it is important for their employers to do it," Trent Ross, a senior vice president with Ipsos, said of the poll results.
Overall, 61 percent of respondents thought companies should pay more attention to the environment, and 52 said they should contribute more to society.
Workers also consider a company's behavior when making choices about products and services. About half of people in Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico said they are likely to think about a firm's social responsibility when buying something, compared to 15 percent or less in France, Japan, Belgium and Germany.
The three most important things companies must do to be respected, according to the poll, are: prioritize workplace safety, contribute to the socioeconomic development of the country, and abide by local laws and rights.
"In the western democracies it is the burden of governments to do these things and in the developing world it is the burden of multi-national companies to provide this lift because governments are less able to do it," Ross said in an interview.
Ipsos questioned a total of 18,150 adults for the online survey conducted from April 2 to 16. Approximately 1,000 people took part in each nation, apart from Argentina, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Russia and Turkey, where about 500 people contributed to the survey.
The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points in a poll of 1,000 and +/- 5.0 percentage points in one of 500.
Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Leslie Adler