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Corporate Social Responsibility Research Document Excerpts

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2017 Cone Communications CSR Study

The 2017 Cone Communications CSR Study reveals one major takeaway for companies: consumers are no longer just asking, "What do you stand for?" but also, "What do you stand up for?" In today's tumultuous society, Americans expect companies to not only improve their business practices and invest in social issues that are aligned with the company, but to be a force for change in broader society. They want companies to stand up for important social justice issues and advance progress for the world at large - and this means doing business with entities that care and share their beliefs.


"Despite a feeling of individual empowerment, U.S. citizens are not relaxing their expectations for companies. Four-out-of-five (79%) expect businesses to continue improving their CSR efforts and more than three-out-of five (63%) are hopeful business will take the lead to drive social and environmental change moving forward. This is a pivital moment for companies, as consumers are giving them a mandate to not only participate in, but spearhead, larger societal progress.

Millennials are putting their faith in companies to ignite change. 71% are hopeful business will take the leadl (U.S. average 63%).

Seven-in-10 (70%) Americans believe companies have an obligation to take actions to improve issues that may not be relevant to everyday business operations.

Consumers are examining a company's values and using that as a filter for the organizations they choose to support - or punish. 87% said they'd purchase a product because that company advocated for an issue they cared about and more then three-quarters (76%) would refuse to purchase a product if they found out a company supported as issue contrary to their beliefs. These numbers are also in alignment with respondents' intent to purchase or boycott based on CSR commitments - revealing that Americans may not be distinguishing between internal CSR activities and more high-level concepts like a company's values or reason for being.

Millennials are the most likely group to seek out responsible products whenever possible (85% vs. 79% U.S. average) and are ardent in believing business should take the lead in the absence of government regulation (71% vs. 63%). Yet, Millennials may also be businesses most critical supporters. They are more likely to hold companies accountable for producting and communicating results of CSR efforts (88% vs. 82%) and are willing to take the time to look under the hood - over the past 12 months, half (51%) of Millennials have reported they have researched a company's business practices (vs. 39%).

For Millennials, it's not enough to just hear about CSR communications, they want to actively engage in the conversation. 79% say they would voice their opinions to companies about CSR efforts (vs. 69%) and 42% have actually sone so in the past 12 months (vs. 32%). This generation is also the most likely to amplify CSR messages to their own networks, as more than Half (54%) have told friend and family about CSR efforts in the last year (vs. 45%).

The 2015 Cone Communications/ Ebiquity Global CSR Study

CSR continues to be a powerful differentiator, not just in the shopping aisle, but in the myriad decisions global consumers make in their everyday lives. When companies clearly articulate their support of social and environmental issues, reputational and bottom-line benefits will follow.


The 2015 Cone Communications/ Ebiquity Global CSR Study reveals one major takeaway for companies: global consumers have officially embraced corporate social responsibility – not only as a universal expectation for companies but as a personal responsibility in their own lives. Consumers see their own power to make an impact in so many ways: the products they buy, the places they work and the sacrifices they are willing to make to address social and environmental issues.

CSR remains a boon to brand reputation and affinity. In line with 2013 results, global consumers state they have a more positive image (93%), are more likely to trust (90%) and are more loyal to (88%) companies that support social and environmental issues. Yet, beyond the strong reputational benefits, companies still stand to reap financial rewards through CSR efforts.

90% of global consumers are likely to switch brands to one associated with a good cause, given comparable price and quality

Consumers consider a company’s social and environmental commitments before making important decisions. Very/Somewhat Important (net):

84% Which companies they want to see doing business in their community

84% What to buy or where to shop

82% Which products and services to recommend to people

79% Where to work

67% Which stocks or mutual funds to invest in

Consumers believe their purchases make a moderate-to-significant impact (72%)

Would be willing to buy a product from an unknown brand if it had strong social and environmental commitments (80%)

Would be willing to pay more for a socially and environmentally responsible product (71%)

90% If I learned of a company’s irresponsible or deceptive business practices, I would stop buying its products

89% If given the opportunity, I would buy a product with a social or environmental benefit

80% I would tell my friends and family about a company’s CSR efforts

76% If given the opportunity, I would donate to a charity supported by a company I trust

72% If given the opportunity, I would volunteer for a cause that a company I trust supports

72%If given the opportunity, I would voice my opinion to a company about its corporate social responsibility efforts (e.g., provide comments on the company’s website or blog; review products)

59% believes both data and stories related to impact are equally important for better understanding a company’s social and environmental commitments

Consumers are likely to use in-store resources to learn about CSR commitments and impacts: Very/Somewhat Likely (net): 87% Product Package, 81% In-Store signage, 57% Store employee, 53# Guest center or customer service, 50% Their mobile device

PWC - Redefining Business Success in a Changing World CEO Survey

How to lead in complicated times? That’s the question all CEOs are seeking to answer at a time of prolonged and continuing uncertainty. CEOs tell us that customers will increasingly judge companies based on how they help greater society and how they live up to their own values. Notably, nearly a quarter of CEOs said their company has changed its sense of purpose in the last three years to take into account the broader impact it has on society.


76% of CEOs define business success by more than financial profit

52% of CEOs say creating value for wider stakeholders helps profitability

84% of CEOs believe their companies are expected to address wider stakeholder expectations

82% tell us their company prioritizes long-term over short-term views

64% say that corporate social responsibility is core to their business rather than being a stand-alone program

72% say their company reports on non-financial as well as financial matters

76% say that business success in the 21st century will be defined by more than just financial profit

Purpose/values (59%) and business strategy (54%) are the top-two areas that CEOs want to better communicate

Project Superbrand: 10 Truths Reshaping the Corporate World

With our latest Prosumer study, Havas Worldwide seeks to understand how the movement toward corporate social responsibility has evolved over the past decade. How are companies responding to intensified pressures to work toward the common good? What do consumers now expect of their brand partners, and how critical are these expectations to their purchase decisions? The study draws on the experiences and points of view of more than 10,000 men and women in 28 markets around the globe. 


The 10 truths Uncovered:

1. Your Oompa Loompas are going viral: In the Roald Dahl classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, no one outside the forbidding gates of the world-famous Willy Wonka Candy Company had any idea that the factory was run by a previously unknown race of short-statured men with orange skin and green hair. In the real world of today, such a lack of scrutiny would be unimaginable. Whether a company is public or privately held, people expect broad access and accountability. A majority of our survey respondents—including 7 in 10 leading-edge Prosumers—said they make it a point to find out about the companies that provide the products and services they buy. For the modern corporation, transparency is not optional.

2. Your company is your brand: There was a time when a company could act as if its individual brands were somehow separate from its corporate organization. People would happily eat a bowl of Cheerios or cleanse their faces with Noxzema without giving a thought to who produced them. Now, more people are actively seeking out information on the “who” behind the things they buy. And companies that fall short of consumers’ expectations pay the price. Half of mainstream consumers and two-thirds of Prosumers avoid buying from businesses deemed to have a negative social or environmental impact.

3. Your values are invaluable: In addition to operating transparently and according to the letter of the law, big businesses are expected to espouse a clearly communicated set of values. And consumers are making purchase decisions based on those values. A majority of mainstream consumers and more than three-quarters of Prosumers say they prefer to buy from companies that share their personal values. And around the same percentages say they’re more likely to buy from a company that is doing good things for the world.

4. Mindless consumption is so last century: Changes in business are taking place in tandem with shifts in how we consume. In developed markets especially, people are deriving less pleasure from the mindless consumption that started filling up our pantries, closets, and garages in the postwar boom of the 1950s. People still want bargains, of course, but it’s even more essential that products and services offer some sort of enduring value.

5. Heroes wanted: People around the globe are hungry for sociopolitical change and are convinced it will require the active cooperation of big business. Two-thirds of our global sample agreed that businesses actually bear as much responsibility as governments for driving positive social change, and 62 percent said they’d like their favorite brands to play a bigger role in solving social problems.

6. Acting “local” pays big dividends: Solving global problems is important, but meaningful connections also must take place at the local level. A majority of our global respondents—including nearly three-quarters of Prosumers—are looking for their favorite brands to play a bigger role in their local communities. Nearly 9 in 10 Prosumers believe it’s important for companies to improve the communities in which they operate.

7. Together is better: People aren’t looking for businesses to act as quasi-governments. On the contrary, around two-thirds of our global sample actually fear the power big corporations already wield. What they want to see are all the world’s players—governments, corporations, NGOs, citizens—working together to tackle problems that no single entity can solve alone. Prosumers and baby boomers especially are keen on such collaborations, with at least 8 in 10 in each group wanting to see corporations working with governments, governments working with NGOs and nonprofits, and businesses working with consumers to make the world a better place.

8. The “greater good” starts within company walls: People aren’t just looking to see what corporate brands are doing in the “outside” world. They also want to know how companies are treating their own people, including employees and suppliers. When we asked respondents how important it is for a company’s CEO to do certain things, paying workers a fair wage and providing a pleasant work environment received higher scores than earning profits or even being environmentally conscious.

9. You’ve got to know your audience: We asked our global sample which of four areas they most want to see companies support: sustainability/the environment, poverty/income inequality, education, or culture/the arts. Overall, environmental sustainability was the cause deemed most pressing; however, there were important distinctions among the 28 countries surveyed, with India being most focused on education, for instance, and Ireland most concerned about income inequality. Businesses stand to gain the most when they are seen as working hard to address the public’s most pressing concerns in whatever part of the world they’re operating.

10. A strong leader is a strong asset: It’s no longer enough for corporate chieftains simply to deliver profits and drive growth. Eighty-four percent of our global sample deem it important that a CEO serve as a role model within the company, and more than three-quarters think he or she must also serve as a role model outside the company. In other words, some of the new responsibilities being placed on companies are also being put onto their chief executives.