A new YouGov poll has revealed that 24% of the population believe that large companies have a positive effect on their local community and environment, while 26% feel they actually have a negative effect.

The survey of 2,180 adults, carried out on behalf of retailer Kingfisher has also shown that only 5% of respondents believe that companies really want to help the future of their local community and environment.

Despite these negative results, 41% of those questioned do say that big businesses can potentially make a positive difference. From the findings, it could be a winner if businesses do decide to go down this route, as the poll shows that 43% of respondents are more likely to use the services of companies that are seen to be doing their bit.

On the topic of beneficial activities that businesses could partake in, working with schools and youth organisations is considered the greatest with 28% of respondents choosing this.

Allowing employees to share in success through profit sharing or employee shares was next (22%),while making donations to local charities (16%) and helping the environment by offsetting or minimising carbon emissions (16%) were also considered beneficial actions large companies should be taking or doing.

Following the results, Kingfisher’s CEO, Ian Cheshire has called for big companies to do more to restore faith in the positive contribution business can make to society, saying:

“Big companies can be a force for good, creating sustainable jobs and a sustainable future for the communities within which they operate but it’s a long journey and we can all do more.

“There are great examples of how large companies are recognising their responsibilities but much more can be done by big business to restore the public’s faith in our corporate sector.”