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csr survey-cone communications

CSR a ‘Business Requirement, Not Option’

Global consumers have clear and specific expectations for the role companies should play in addressing social and environmental issues with 93 percent wanting to see more of the products and services they use support corporate social responsibility efforts, according to a survey released this week.

Companies that disregard these demands from consumers risk more than just their reputations. Nine in 10 consumers say they would boycott if they learned of irresponsible behavior, according to the survey.

The 2013 Cone Communications/Eco Global CSR Study, a follow up to the 2011 global survey of consumer attitudes, perception and behaviors around CSR, includes the opinions of more than 10,000 people living in 10 of the largest countries in the world by GDP. Consumers in the US, Canada, Brazil, the UK, Germany, France, Russia, China, India and Japan were surveyed. The research, conducted by Cone Communications and Echo Research, is complemented with insights from country-specific CSR experts.

Nine in 10 consumers surveyed want companies to go beyond the minimum standards required by law to operate responsibly and address social and environmental issues, a sign that CSR is no longer an option, but a requirement, for business.

A company’s CSR efforts could affect its ability to find skilled workers. Some 81 percent say they consider CSR when deciding where to work, according to the survey.

It’s increasingly important for companies to articulate progress beyond their basic CSR purpose, the report says. Of those surveyed, 31 percent believe businesses should change the way they operate to align with greater social and environmental needs.

Social media has become an everyday tool for consumers to learn and engage around critical issues, including CSR. Some 62 percent of surveyed global consumers say they use social media to address or engage with companies around CSR. While the majority share positive information with their networks, 26 percent are communicating negative news, according to the report.

Social media is accelerating CSR especially in highly mobile-savvy and emerging countries, such as China, India and Brazil where 90 percent, 89 percent and 85 percent of the respective populations report using social channels to engage with companies around their CSR efforts.

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