Green Companies Get More Greenbacks

Study finds people support socially responsible companies

Jun 27, 2014
Outside Magazine

Consumers are giving companies like Ford a reason to make things such as "luxury hybrids."    mariordo59/Flickr

Do-gooders are willing to put their money where their mouth is, according to a new study from the Neilsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility.

The report found that, more often than not, people around the world will pay more for products made by socially responsible companies. Every year, Interbrand rates the best global green brands. In 2014, companies such as Adidas and Nike placed in the top 50.

"Today, the question is not whether consumers care about social impact, but which ones, how much, and how to appeal to them," Nic Covey, vice president of corporate responsibility at Nielson, said in a report. "The answer isn't necessarily a traditional cause-marketing campaign—general responsibility, sustainable innovation, and purpose messaging might also engage these consumers. No matter the approach, savvy brands are figuring out how to hit this nerve."

Thirty-thousand people in 60 countries took part in the online survey, and 55 percent of participants responded that they would pay higher prices for globally conscious products. The survey broke out participant responses by region and by generation.

Asia-Pacific and millennial consumers, at 64 percent and 55 percent, respectively, were the most likely to pony up extra money and make more frequent purchasing decisions based on responsible product packaging. Millennials were also the most likely to prefer working for a sustainable company.

North Americans and Europeans came in last, showing just 42 percent and 40 percent interest, respectively.

Fast Company reports that the top causes of "extreme concern" that customers are more likely to support through their purchases are increasing access to clean water, improving access to sanitation, and ensuring environmental sustainability.

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