Global consumers feel a personal accountability to address social and environmental issues and look to companies as partners in progress, according to findings from the 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study, released today. Near universal in their demands for companies to act responsibly, nine-in-10 consumers expect companies to do more than make a profit, but also operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues. Global consumers echo that high standard in their own lives and shopping behavior. Eighty-four percent of consumers globally say they seek out responsible products whenever possible, though eight-in-10 (81%) cite availability of these products as the largest barrier to not purchasing more.
“The research has revealed an increasingly sophisticated consumer,” says Jennifer Ciuffo Clark, research director, Ebiquity. “Global consumers have high demands for companies to address social and environmental issues, but they now also understand they have an obligation to make change, as well. It’s critical for companies to understand the nuanced drivers, barriers and opportunities that resonate among discerning global audiences.”
As personal accountability and sophistication grows, consumers are also considering their own role in addressing social and environmental issues. Global consumers state they are willing to make personal sacrifices for the greater good. Four-in-five are willing to consume or purchase fewer products to preserve natural resources (81%) or buy a product from an unknown brand if it has strong CSR commitments (80%). Consumers are even willing to forgo elements like ownership or quality to push progress forward:
- 62% of consumers would work for a socially or environmentally responsible company, even if the salary was less than other companies
- 61% would be willing to borrow or share products rather than buy new ones
- 57% would purchase a product of lesser quality or efficacy if it was more socially or environmentally responsible
“Companies shouldn’t take consumers’ willingness to make sacrifices as a signal to cut corners,” says Alison DaSilva, executive vice president, Cone Communications. “Rather, this is an opportunity to engage consumers more fully in new CSR solutions, collaborating to push the boundaries of responsible consumption and lifestyle.”