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ConeEcho-Consumer-Attitudes-to-CSR-May2013Consumers want to reward companies for their positive societal influences, according to the 2013 Cone Communications/Echo Global CSR Study. The vast majority of consumers around the world say that when companies engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR), they have a more positive image of the company (95%), are more likely to trust the company (94%), and would be more loyal to the company (93%). And given comparable price and quality, 91% of respondents said they would switch brands to one associated with a good cause, indicating that CSR efforts can provide a competitive edge.

The study demonstrates that consumers keep companies’ CSR activities in mind when shopping: CSR is a consideration when consumers are deciding what to buy or where to shop (87%) as well as which products or services to recommend to others (85%).

Consumers want to play a part in influencing company practices through their wallets, too. 92% would buy a product with a social and/or environmental benefit, given the opportunity, while 90% would stop buying a company’s products when they learned of its irresponsible or deceptive business practices. Those attitudes translate to action, too: over the past 12 months, two-thirds of respondents reported having bought a product with a social or environmental benefit, and 55% have boycotted a company’s products or services having learned of irresponsible behavior.

Overall, consumers hold high expectations for corporate social responsibility: a plurality 31% believe that businesses should change the way they operate to align with greater social and environmental needs, and another 29% feel that businesses should not only support but advocate for change in larger social or environmental issues by increasing awareness of the issue and donating products or services, money or volunteering. Only 6% believe that businesses exist to make money for shareholders and are not responsible for supporting social or environmental issues.

About the Data: The 2013 Cone Communications/ Echo Global CSR Opportunity Study presents the findings of an online survey conducted February 7-28, 2013 by Echo Research. The survey was conducted in 10 countries: the United States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, China, India and Japan. Across all countries, the survey was conducted among a demographically representative random sample of the online adult population ages 18 and older. A total of 10,287 adults completed the survey, including 5,127 men and 5,160 women. The margin of error associated with the total sample is ±1% at a 95% level of confidence. The margin of error for individual country samples of n=1,000 is ±3% at the same level of confidence.

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