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Cause We Care: Social Issues That Matter To Consumers
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Cause We Care: Social Issues That Matter To Consumers

The world needs helping hearts and hands to improve the quality of life—and there are many who give selflessly to altruistic activities. Whether we donate our time, money or talent, the ultimate goal is to make an impact in the world around us. Increasingly, we expect the same from the companies we purchase from and work for.

More than two-thirds (67%) of respondents in Nielsen’s global online survey on corporate social responsibility say they prefer to work for a socially responsible company, while more than half (55%) say they 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.

So what concerns do consumers care most about?

With many viable causes in need of support, caring consumers can choose from a long list to find the ones they are most passionate about and most relevant to their communities. Nielsen’s study reviewed the concern level for 20 causes, which spanned a wide array of topics. The top causes, for which 50 percent or more global respondents indicate extreme concern, include: increasing access to clean water, improving access to sanitation, eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, combating non-communicable diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability and reducing child mortality.

While the high general levels of extreme concern for causes among global respondents are noteworthy, these percentages rise by nearly 10 percent, on average, when we connect with those who are most passionate about social and environmental programs, as indicated by their willingness to either pay extra for sustainable products or through their active engagement in volunteer activities.

Understanding the causes that consumers most care about companies are in a unique position to align with the passions of a growing consumer segment. With respondents stated willingness to want to do business with companies that are committed to social and environmental impact, companies have a clear incentive to do so.

“An eager and passionate audience is at the ready, expanding the cause opportunity for brands,” said Amy Fenton, global leader of public development and sustainability, Nielsen. “But success will depend on the ability to connect sustainable benefits effectively with consumers’ wants and wallets through clearly communicated and readily available brand positioning.”

The latest corporate social responsibility report also includes:

  • A regional look at the consumers who care about corporate social responsibility.
  • A five-part approach for how to succeed at sustainability through brand strategies.
  • A look at how consumers care by generation.

For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Global Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Survey of Corporate Social Responsibility was conducted between Feb. 17 and March 7, 2014, and polled more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on its Internet users, and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers. It has a margin of error of ±0.6 percent. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behavior of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent Internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.