HONG KONG: A significant proportion of consumers in Asia Pacific weigh up a brand’s ethics when making purchasing decisions and believe businesses have a responsibility to do social good, according to a new regional survey.

The latest research from YouGov Omnibus is based on a sample of 9,000 respondents across nine countries in the region, with 1,000 each from Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

It found, for example, that exactly half (50%) of APAC consumers believe businesses have a responsibility to ensure their supply chain does not harm the environment.

This opinion rises to almost two-thirds (63%) of Filipino consumers, followed by Australians (58%), Singaporeans (56%) and Malaysians (52%).

However, it falls to just 43% of Chinese and Indonesian consumers, with Thai consumers (42%) the least concerned in the region on this score.

The survey also found that 62% of APAC consumers would be more likely to recommend a brand to their friends and family if it gave a small portion of its annual profits to charity.

This rises to three-quarters (75%) of consumers in Indonesia and 70% in Thailand, but falls to 51% in Singapore and 55% in both Australia and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, six in ten (61%) of respondents in Hong Kong believe business should be doing more to help charities as a whole, compared to 56% of Australians and Singaporeans.

Ensuring a brand’s supply chain is free from harmful practices, such as forced labour, is also an important issue for APAC consumers, although the strength of feeling varies from 57% in Australia to 47% in Hong Kong.

And upskilling members of the community, volunteering and offering pro-bono services in a brand’s area of expertise are also rated highly by APAC consumers, the survey revealed.

“That a majority of consumers believe that businesses have a responsibility to ensure that they have ethical supply chains suggests consumers expect ever more from brands,” the report concluded.

“In order to get ahead, brands now have to go beyond simply proving that their given product is a cut above the rest; smart business looking to distinguish themselves need to work hard to showcase their values as well.”

Sourced from YouGov Omnibus; additional content by WARC staff