Posts tagged: corporate responsibility

Consumers prefer socially responsible brands

By Tara, March 31, 2010 5:55 pm
Better World iPhone App

Better World iPhone App

Transparency and corporate responsibility have become far more important to consumers in a tough economy, according to a new survey by firms Landor Associates, Penn Schoen Berland and Burson-Marsteller.

As reported in a recent Brandweek article, the survey measured consumer perceptions of corporate social responsibility practices and ranked companies that are the most responsible. It found that despite the recession, 75% of consumers believe social responsibility is important, and 55% of consumers said they would choose a product that supports a particular cause against similar products that don’t.

So what does that mean for us as consumers? The average American family spends around $18,000 each year on goods and services. Think of it as casting 18,000 votes every year for the kind of world you want to live in. The question is, how do we know what company to “vote” for?

The Better World Shopping Guide is a handy guide to determine which brands to buy and which to avoid. For example, I think we all know that Ben & Jerry’s is an obvious choice in natural ice cream and they (naturally) scored an A+ in the Shopping Guide. Yum! But would you have guessed that Dreyer’s and Haagen Daaz both received an F in the Shopping Guide? I was rather shocked to learn that.

This book scores companies on over 25 different criteria that fall into five different categories including human rights, the environment, animal protection, community involvement, and social justice. They also have a Better World iPhone app to make shopping with a social conscience that much easier for just $1.99. So the next time you pick up some more laundry detergent, you can quickly and easily make your “vote” count by purchasing the detergent that makes the grade. Sadly, my Woolite scored a D+ so it looks like I need to try something new.

Ultimately, this means that companies need to step up their game when it comes to doing the right thing. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is playing an increasingly important role in purchasing decisions. Companies need to incorporate genuine CSR standards and avoid the “greenwashing” effect.

The team at Seventh Generation wrote a book on the success stories of companies that have embraced CSR goals from within and have outperformed their competitors by 15% on average. THE RESPONSIBILITY REVOLUTION: How the Next Generation of Businesses Will Win tells how revolutionary companies – ranging from industry heavyweights like IBM, Nike, and British merchandising giant Marks & Spencer are winning customers and driving profits.

Tell us! What changes have you made to your spending habits? And what is your company doing to achieve its CSR goals and ensure it gets those socially responsible “votes”?