Consumers’ buying choices are increasingly influenced by the social responsibility that brands have displayed, according to new research by Nielson. In the survey, 60% of global online consumers said that they are willing to pay extra for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact. This has increased from 45% in 2011. These attitudes were found to be strongest in the Asia-Pacific (64%), Latin America (63%), and Middle East/Africa (63%) regions.

In this briefing experts comment on how responsible business practice can drive profits and corporate value:

In September in the UK an initiative called Social Saturday encouraged consumers to buy from social enterprises. In relation to this event Social Enterprise UK and the Cabinet Office polled British adults on their attitude towards social responsibility in business. 1 in 3 people surveyed said they feel ashamed when they buy from a socially irresponsible business and 26% said that there is a stigma attached to buying from socially irresponsible businesses.

But this is more than a passive reaction to corporate responsibility. Research by Cone Communications and Echo Research found that 27% of global consumers believed that consumers themselves can have significant positive impact through their purchases. The study surveyed 10,000 citizens in 10 of the largest countries in the world (by GDP), and found that 91% of people believe companies must go beyond the minimum standards required by law to operate responsibly. It would seem that this is a matter that people not only care about but are willing to confront. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed (62%) said they use social media to address or engage with companies around CSR and 93% said they will be more loyal to a company that supports CSR.

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