Hot on the heels of the recent launch of OgilvyEarth, our sister sustainability practice, we’ve commissioned a study about businesses’ and consumers’ current views on CSR commitment. What it shows us is that regardless of the fears in the business community, consumers’ loyalty to ethical and social issues is holding up during the recession. We believe that now is the opportunity for business leaders to prove that they’re sincere and truly committed to CSR promises.
In partnership with research firm Populus we’ve interviewed over 2,000 British opinion formers and consumers. An overwhelming majority of those business leaders (67 per cent to be precise) see trust in companies’ CSR issues as a key aspect for corporate success. At the same time, over a third of business leaders think that companies, which scale back on CSR during the economic downturn, will regret the decision come the recovery.
The survey results also prove that recession has done little to curb consumer demand for products with social and environmental credentials. Nearly 40 per cent of consumers are actually more concerned with environmental and social issues than they were before the recession began. There is also a growing trend to put business under more scrutiny. Some 29 per cent of consumers admit to paying more attention now to a product’s environmental and social credentials compared with 12 months ago.
In our view one possible victim of the recession is consumer trust in businesses’ commitment to sticking to their word on sustainability. Surprisingly enough, only one third of consumers expressed confidence in UK companies to remain committed to their social and environmental promises.