Corporate Social Responsibility: More effort needed to educate consumers on real actions of companies2022.02.18
- Awareness of Corporate Social Responsibility is low in Ireland, with less than 2 in 5 having heard of it before.
- Despite low awareness, most (72%) think that it is important to be aware of the socially responsible behaviors of companies/brands they are customers of.
- More than half in Ireland (53%) agree that socially-responsible behaviours of companies/brands have influenced their purchase decisions.
- However, just over 1 in 10 believe companies are seriously operating with CSR & Sustainability.
WIN International, the world’s leading association in market research and polling, has published the Annual WIN World Survey (WWS – 2020) exploring the views and beliefs of 33,236 individuals among citizens from 39 countries across the globe about climate change. The survey analyzes views and opinions related to climate change and sustainability.
HEADLINES – IRELAND
General Knowledge about CSR
- Less than 2 in 5 have heard about Corporate Social Responsibility before.
- Awareness is higher among higher social grades (49%), but lower than average amongst lower social grades (29%)
- Globally, Ireland sits significantly lower (-10%) than the global average of 48%.
The importance of being aware of actions taken by companies/brands
- Majority (72%) believe it is important to be aware of socially responsible behavior of the companies/brands they are a customer of, with 45% thinking it is extremely important.
- The Irish attitude towards the importance of being aware of socially responsible behavior is slightly higher (+3%) than the global average.
The influence of CSR
- Over half (53%) claim to be influenced on purchase decisions by the socially responsible behaviors of companies, with more than 1 in 3 (36%) saying that it influences their decisions very much.
- The impact is significantly higher amongst 18–34-year-olds (61%). The lack of knowledge and higher level of influence suggests that more effort by companies would positively impact it.
- Globally, Ireland sits behind the global average (-9%).
Efforts to embrace and promote CSR
- Only a small minority (14%) believe that companies are seriously operating with CSR & sustainability, with this outlook relatively similar across demographic groups. This suggests that people expect more efforts to be taken by businesses.
- On a global level, Ireland is lower than global norm of 19%, while the Chinese hold a significantly stronger belief (57%) than other countries that companies are doing this.
Richard Colwell, CEO of RED C Research and Vice-President of WIN International Association, said:
“This survey is a something of a wakeup call for business in Ireland. At present it appears the efforts of companies to encourage corporate social responsibility is falling on deaf ears, with most consumers not trusting companies to follow through on their CSR claims. At the same time over half say that their purchase decisions would be influenced by it. More effort needs to be done to educate consumers on the real actions of companies to do better in this space.”
- General knowledge about CSR
The awareness about Corporative Social Responsibility among interviewed people was equally distributed between positive and negative answers: while 48% already heard about the concept, 42% of the group did not; 10% didn’t answer the question or didn’t know. Even when looking at age groups and gender, data are equally distributed between those who know about CSR and those who don’t, while some differences can be found when looking at global regions. On one hand, in Europe and APAC there are more people who are aware of the concept than people who are not. In America as well, but the difference is of less than one percent. On the other hand, respondents in MENA region are less aware about CSR, with 60% of people not knowing what CSR stands for over 35% who do know. Across the world, the higher the level of education, the more people know about Corporate Social Responsibility. When it comes to employment, people who work full time, students and retired people tend to know more about CSR, while part – time workers and unemployed or housewives are less aware about the concept.
- Efforts to embrace and promote CSR
When thinking about the real efforts to embrace and promote CSR, 39% tends to believe that companies are not seriously doing it, and that the actions in place are only made for appearance, followed by 25% who believes most companies do not care at all about CSR. Results highlight how negative the opinions towards the efforts put in place by companies are, with the majority of people affirming that corporates seem to have little interest in sustainability and eco – friendly habits. However, there is also a share of people who tend to be more optimistic: 19% say most companies are seriously operating with corporate social responsibility and sustainability, a share that reaches 31% in APAC region. Most critical opinions can be found in Europe, where 48% say companies only talk about CSR for appearance (+9% than global average) and MENA, where 35% say companies do not care at all (+10% compared to global average). Among higher educated people there are more respondents believing that companies are seriously operating with CSR, but the conviction that ‘it is only appearance’ still prevails. Within the countries that were included in the present research, the option “most companies are seriously operating with CSR and sustainability” got its highest percentages in APAC countries. Nevertheless, the opinions about companies being careless about CSR are the ones that predominate almost in every country.
- The importance of being aware of actions taken by companies/brands
When asked about the importance of being aware of the socially responsible behaviors of companies/brands that they are customers of, most people (70%) consider it important, while only 24% do not think it is relevant. When looking at occupations, the ones that are more conscious about the importance of being aware of the actions undertaken by companies are students, full-time workers, and retired people. In addition, the higher education level, the more important being aware of CSR practices is.
- The influence of CSR
Finally, the results related to the influence of Corporate Social Responsibility on purchase decisions provide some more interesting insights: on a global level, 62% say socially responsible behaviors of companies influences their purchase decisions, while 31% say they do not, meaning that people are increasingly more paying attention to companies’ ethical conducts and social role. Results reflect the same distribution when comparing data between regions and gender, while an indirect relationship can be found when looking at age: older people tend to be less influenced by CSR and companies’ ethical conducts when it comes to their purchases.
Vilma Scarpino, President of WIN International Association, said:
“Corporate Social Responsibility is an increasingly important subject, which however is not widely known yet: indeed, there is still a large share of the population who does not know what CSR stands for, which means that efforts in terms of communication and awareness need to be undertaken. Respondents are also skeptical about companies’ commitment to sustainable goals, which stresses ones again the need for companies to increase awareness on one hand, and trust and transparency on the other. On the other hand, individuals not only believe that being aware of companies’ CSR commitments is important for them as consumers, but they also believe a company’s conduct directly influences their purchase decisions.”
Richard Colwell, C.E.O., RED C Research
Derek Bell, Project Manager, RED C Research
Elena Crosilla, WIN Coordinator
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The survey was conducted in 39 countries using CAWI / online survey methods.
Sample Size and Mode of Field Work:
A total of 33,236 people were interviewed. See below for sample details. The fieldwork was conducted during 15th October 2021 and 18th December 2021. The margin of error for the survey is between 4.4 and 2.5 at 95% confidence level.
The global average has been computed according to the covered adult population of the surveyed countries.
In Ireland, a representative sample of over 1020 adults were conducted online. Fieldwork was conducted in November 2021.
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