You’d be hard-pressed to find a consumer who said he or she didn’t care about the environment or extreme poverty around the world, but are consumers around the world using their purchasing power to support that concern? A recent Nielsen survey found that more than half (55%) of global respondents are willing to pay extra for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact—up from 50 percent in 2012 and 45 percent in 2011. The key to reaching these consumers is identifying who they are and how passionate they are about corporate social responsibility.
An in-depth look at the survey responses shows that age is an important consideration. Among global respondents survey who are responsive to sustainability actions, half are Millennials (age 21-34): they represent 51 percent of those who will pay extra for sustainable products, 51 percent of those who check the packaging for sustainable labeling and 49 percent of those who prefer to work for a sustainable company. The average of these numbers is more than double the three-statement sentiment average for Generation X (age 35-49) respondents (25%) and more than quadruple the sentiment average for Baby Boomer (age 50-64) respondents (12%).
Regionally, age variations are notable. There are wide gaps between younger and older respondents in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East/Africa regions. In these largely developing regions, Millennial respondents in favor of sustainability actions are three times more agreeable, on average, than Generation X respondents and 12 times more agreeable, on average, than Baby Boomer respondents. In North America, Europe and Latin America, however, differences in sustainability sentiment between Millennial and Generation X respondents are largely negligible and only about two times greater than Baby Boomer respondents.
These differences matter to companies that want to do well by doing good—something that will be necessary in the long term if corporate social responsibility itself is to be sustainable. “Precision marketing and knowing your consumers intimately will yield the greatest results,” said Amy Fenton, global leader of public development and sustainability, Nielsen. “It’s no longer a question if consumers care about social impact. Consumers do care and show they do through their actions. The question is ‘how is your brand effectively creating shared value by marrying the appropriate social cause and consumer segments?’.”
The latest corporate social responsibility report also includes:
For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Global Corporate Social Responsibility Report.