CSR could benefit brands

30 March 2012

NEW YORK: Two-thirds of consumers around the world would prefer to buy products manufactured by companies with strong corporate social responsibility credentials, according to a report by Nielsen.

The research group, surveyed 28,000 people in 56 countries to assess popular attitudes regarding how businesses approach major issues such as the environment and community relationships.

Exactly 66% of respondents preferred to purchase products from firms which have launched schemes aiming to "give back to society".

Participants from Latin America posted the highest score here on 77%, beating the 75% logged by the Middle East and Africa, 70% in Asia Pacific, 64% in North America and 55% in Europe.

"While cultural bias is not factored into the survey results, regional differences support previous hypotheses about unique regional perceptions of corporate social responsibility," the study said.

"In parts of Europe, there may still be a tendency on the part of consumers to view corporations primarily as economic players. In Asia, these findings correspond with increasing corporate attention to corporate social responsibility and its impact on performance."

Adopting rigorous CSR policies may also pay off in terms of recruitment, as 62% of the sample expressed a desire to work for organisations with an impressive output in this area, hitting 59% when considering investment.

A further 46% of contributors agreed they would be willing to meet a price premium in order to acquire goods and services from these corporations.

Figures on this metric climbed to 55% in Asia Pacific and 53% in the Middle East and Africa. Latin America also registered 49%, falling to 35% in North America and 32% in Europe.

Nielsen described these shoppers as "socially-conscious consumers", and reported that the Philippines had the greatest concentration of such individuals on 68%, while the Netherlands recorded just 20%.

When discussing which forms of advertising and communications they trusted, 92% of the panel pointed to recommendations from people they knew, standing at 70% for online user reviews.

Brand websites yielded 58%, as did editorial content like newspaper articles. Outdoor billboards received 50%, while sponsorship, TV spots, magazine ads and opt-in emails all generated 47%.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff