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2011 CONE / ECHO GLOBALCR OPPORTUNITY STUDY                   2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study I 1
THE CORPORATE                                                                                  We conducted an online surv...
A    mere six percent of consumers globally                                                                               ...
T ERY                                                                                                                     ...
The global breakdown:                   The one issue consumers most                                                      ...
It is not entirely surprising economic                                                                                    ...
FOCUS FAR AWAY OR CLOSE TO HOME?                                                                                          ...
APPROACH                                                                                                                  ...
The global breakdown:                      Consumers would most like                          to see companies:           ...
In many places, supporting social issues                                                                                  ...
5%                                                                                                  NOT VERY LIKELY     1%...
Consumers want to be                                                                     Consumers have rewarded    engage...
T    here      is    no    doubt   consumers         idealistic in their intent, but where                                ...
C    onsumers      want   to    know     what     There also appears to be a contradictoryCOMMUNICATIONS                  ...
TRADITIONAL MEDIA REIGNS, BUT NEW MEDIA MATTERS, TOO    Consumers want a dialogue, but ultimately           the upper eche...
ROLE OF BUSINESS               ADVOCATE FOR CHANGE (27%)                                   GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS               ...
Ultimately, “it is not an either/or – philanthropy or responsible business practices,” DaSilva                            ...
ROLE OF BUSINESS              ADVOCATE FOR CHANGE (28%) /                                                                 ...
Although it may be slow, CR progress is inevitable in Canada as companies look to manage                                  ...
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email
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Transcript of "2011 Cone Echo Global Cr Opportunity Study Compressed For Email"

  1. 1. 2011 CONE / ECHO GLOBALCR OPPORTUNITY STUDY 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study I 1
  2. 2. THE CORPORATE We conducted an online survey, and we described “corporate responsibility” to the practices and giving their support to address social and environmental issues.” RESPONSIBILITY 1,000 respondents in each country broadly as “companies changing their business In this report, we’ll share their opinions on: OPPORTUNITY The role of business in society – It’s to change it. Leading issues – Focus on material issues. W elcome to the world of responsible business. And we mean that in the We anticipated some Leading approaches – Maximize core business competencies. literal sense. The unequivocal takeaway interest in responsible Impact – Socially minded consumers make the world go ‘round. from the 2011 Cone/Echo CR Opportunity Study, the latest in Cone Communications’ business within this Communications – Tell it how it is. 18-year chronicle of consumer expectations sample. What we got of responsible business, is that consumers was a groundswell. globally believe companies have an explicit responsibility to help change the world. The desire to see companies drive social and environmental change was clear and Cone Communications partnered with Echo consistent across every country we surveyed. Research to field our most extensive study Regardless of politics, historical context or to date – 10,000 consumers in 10 countries, cultural norms, consumers expect business including the United States, Canada, Brazil, to address social and environmental issues the United Kingdom, Germany, France, through their operations, their products Russia, China, India and Japan. These are and services and their unique expertise. 10 of the 11 largest countries in the world by GDP, representing just over half of the The opportunity? Consumers will reward world’s population. these efforts. This report will highlight data and insights that speak to the specific opportunities in each market to help companies tailor their approaches for greatest relevancy and impact.2 I 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study I 3
  3. 3. A mere six percent of consumers globally channel economist Milton Friedman and only hold businesses accountable for making that businesses should do something in the communities in which they operate. But for 81 percent of the population, the expectation money. Thirteen percent of consumers have is much more: a slightly higher, but still narrow belief EXPECTATIONS Role of 6% THE ROLE OF BUSINESS IN SOCIETY IS TO CHANGE IT business Just make money The role of business in contemporary society is the focus of much debate these in society: 13% Play limited role in community days, but as the pundits and practitioners battle it out in academic circles and the press, consumers around the world have already come to their conclusion: companies must reward stakeholders, not just shareholders. 31% 20% Change the way they operate Support larger to align with greater social issues with and environmental needs donations & time 30% SupportAND advocatewithchange & time larger issues for donations But don’t think that compliance alone will address social and environmental issues. achieve such standards. Consumers expect Ninety-four percent say companies must operational innovation for the greater good. analyze how their business practices affect More than nine-in-10 (93%) say companies the world and evolve those practices to make must go beyond the minimum standards the impact as positive as possible. required by law to operate responsibly and4 I 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study I 5
  4. 4. T ERY ) T IM (NET AN ISSUES AN / V RT RT T PO HA PO IM EW What’s important? M RY FOCUS ON MATERIAL ISSUES SO VE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 96% 62% Consumers recognize companies are essential to major social and environmental change because ENVIRONMENT 96% 69% they have resources governments and NGOs do WATER 95% 70% not (88%). As a result, they are asking companies HUMAN RIGHTS 94% 63% to support a broad swath of important issues, HEALTH & DISEASE 90% 55% everything from water to education. EDUCATION 90% 54% POVERTY & HUNGER 87% 48% U ltimately, supporting these issues is table stakes. Anywhere from 87 percent to 96 percent of consumers in all countries expect if they had to select only one, this was the issue companies should address. Combined with the environment (21%), these two issues companies to be doing something to support represent the attention of more than half of this range of causes. However, the issue that the 10,000 respondents. Human rights comes rises to the top and may help differentiate in a more distant third (12%). a company is economic development. More than a third (34%) of consumers globally said,6 I 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study I 7
  5. 5. The global breakdown: The one issue consumers most US CANADA BRAZIL UK want companies to address: 43 36 26 38 4 20 6 7 6 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 34% 7 7 6 8 9 16 8 21 11 6 19 ENVIRONMENT 21% 13 8 11 13 24 7 10 12 GERMANY FRANCE RUSSIA CHINA HUMAN RIGHTS 12% 34 33 36 27 8 8 4 5 POVERTY & HUNGER 11% 7 14 8 19 13 10 5 19 4 38 9 5 17 11 5 16 11 EDUCATION 9% 11 13 12 INDIA JAPAN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT HEALTH & DISEASE 8% 31 39 ENVIRONMENT 21 HUMAN RIGHTS 7 5 POVERTY & HUNGER 6 WATER 6% 6 EDUCATION HEALTH & DISEASE 7 12 24 WATER 8 7 15 128 I 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study I 9
  6. 6. It is not entirely surprising economic When a company development topped the list as people worldwide face financial difficulties and supports the issue rampant unemployment. It is an issue that consumers care about T most, it is rewarded EN strikes a chord regardless of circumstances PM or nationality. with their trust, loyalty, HE ION GER LO SE VE advocacy, engagement AT UN ER ISEA TS T DE EN GH Business – with its vast UC & H and increased sales: D IC M RI & M ON Y financial resources and AN RT TH NO IR VE AL M AT O V investments in jobs, HU PO EN ED EC W infrastructure, training, Be more likely to trust people and communities – the company 51% 57% 56% 54% 52% 54% 49% is a key to raise us all up. Want to purchase the 44% 51% 45% 53% 47% 45% 47% company’s products/services Be more loyal to the company But that doesn’t exclude the other issues. Companies can’t solve hunger, disease (i.e., continue buying the 45% 51% 49% 54% 47% 48% 44% company’s products/services) or poverty alone, as savvy consumers Want to engage with the recognize, but they did not say these topics company beyond their were unimportant. Not by a long stretch. purchases (e.g., donate their 26% 30% 29% 39% 33% 37% 24% The finding that consumers worldwide own money or volunteer with the company) are prioritizing economic development Photo courtesy of Dr. Elizabeth Hausler, 2011 Lemelson-MIT (client) Award for Sustainability winner and founder of Build Change can provide an opportunity for companies Recommend the company to frame their social and environmental and its products/services 50% 55% 54% 59% 52% 54% 50% education – are directly tied to economic efforts in a new context, one that focuses development and may be approached in a Want to work for the company 46% 40% 47% 43% 44% 40% 35% on the economic stability of a region. Many way that stimulates people, communities Feel good about the company issues – from poverty to women’s rights and and economies. operating in their communities 56% 59% 59% 62% 62% 58% 51% Percent who strongly agree10 I 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study I 11
  7. 7. FOCUS FAR AWAY OR CLOSE TO HOME? Consumers want Citizens globally may agree on what issues that affect the quality of life locally, companies to focus on companies should address, but they are 33 percent say nationally and 30 percent issues that improve the much more divided when it comes to where. say globally. This is also an area where quality of life: Thirty-six percent of consumers believe geographic boundaries begin to play a companies should prioritize support of more distinct role: • Citizens in some of the largest countries geographically, including the U.S. (47%), Russia (51%), Canada (38%) and China (49%), along with the U.K. (44%), were most likely to believe 30% 36% companies should support local issues; GLOBALLY LOCALLY • Japan (49%), a small island nation still in the aftermath of a life-altering earthquake, was the sole nation most likely to believe companies should focus nationally; and, • India (41%), the face of globalization itself, along with Brazil (46%), Germany (40%) and France (38%), want companies to take a global view. 33% NATIONALLY Photo courtesy of Dr. BP Agrawal, 2010 Lemelson-MIT (client) Award for Sustainability winner and founder of Sustainable Innovations12 I 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study I 13
  8. 8. APPROACH T ( ERY ) T IM NET AN AN / V RT RT T PO HA PO IM EW MAXIMIZE CORE Companies should: M RYBUSINESS COMPETENCIES SO VE CHANGE THE WAY THEY OPERATE 96% 59%Companies are fortunate to have a diverse DEVELOP NEW PRODUCTS OR SERVICES 95% 52% range of resources at their disposal, from cash to expertise, that they can put to APPLY UNIQUE BUSINESS ASSETS 94% 49% work to positively impact important RAISE AWARENESS & EDUCATE 93% 48% issues. Once again, consumers DEVELOP PARTNERSHIPS 91% 42% expect companies to tap into DONATE EMPLOYEE TIME/EXPERTISE 86% 34% their full portfolios. MAKE DONATIONS 84% 32% W hen it comes to making a true and lasting difference in the world, consumers say look not outside, but within. approach as the one they would most like to see companies take, trumping all others. Consumers recognize the importance of Changing operations is the leading way philanthropy and volunteerism (often consumers want to see companies address the only approaches they may have been social and environmental issues. Nearly exposed to) but see that those alone are not a third of respondents (31%) cited this the primary strategies for greatest impact. 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study I 15
  9. 9. The global breakdown: Consumers would most like to see companies: US CANADA BRAZIL UK 29 41 39 42 CHANGE THE WAY THEY OPERATE 31% 5 20 6 4 4 6 11 8 10 8 16 15 16 11 10 APPLY UNIQUE BUSINESS ASSETS 19% 13 10 13 8 9 14 15 7 10 GERMANY FRANCE RUSSIA CHINA DEVELOP NEW PRODUCTS OR SERVICES 16% 29 35 29 25 4 1 8 7 6 24 DEVELOP PARTNERSHIPS 11% 5 18 7 13 6 4 4 27 11 12 13 11 RAISE AWARENESS AND EDUCATE 11% 8 21 13 18 19 21 INDIA JAPAN MAKE DONATIONS 7% 23 15 23 CHANGE THE WAY THEY OPERATE APPLY UNIQUE BUSINESS ASSETS 19 DEVELOP NEW PRODUCTS OR SERVICES 6 6 DEVELOP PARTNERSHIPS DONATE EMPLOYEE TIME/EXPERTISE 5% 5 7 RAISE AWARENESS AND EDUCATE MAKE DONATIONS 15 10 DONATE EMPLOYEE TIME/EXPERTISE 21 29 12 1016 I 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study I 17
  10. 10. In many places, supporting social issues If a company ES means a generous donation or a day addresses an IC RV E of service. But imagine the business SA E AW TNE TS O S AT AT issue in the way UC SET SE UC opportunity to be had by putting business SIN PER R S ED consumers find O acumen to work instead. Companies around S ES ND UE HEY IP the world are using their core competencies most important, AK ARE SH DO ON SS A OD T ISE E R E/ E EM NS RT YE BU AY to create solutions to the world’s challenges, consumers will: PR NE PE LO IO PL HE W EW AT from supply chain innovations that address ISE AR EX P IQ RA P P DE P N T UN poverty in markets where they operate, to GE ED LO LO TIM T NA Y AN for-profit products and services that serve VE VE CH AP DE M the bottom of the pyramid. This study demonstrates that not only are consumers Be more likely to trust giving companies permission to alter the the company 57% 58% 55% 56% 51% 47% 44% social paradigm, they understand it is Want to purchase the imperative for real change. company’s products/services 53% 52% 51% 52% 48% 43% 39% What’s more, the key approaches consumers Be more loyal to the company support marry well with the top issues. How (i.e., continue buying the 52% 52% 48% 49% 48% 43% 42% company’s products/services) better to impact economic development, the environment and human rights Want to engage with the than through operations, products and company beyond their services and expertise? Consumers have a purchases (e.g., donate their 25% 30% 27% 37% 33% 33% 28% own money or volunteer with keen understanding of what companies the company) can accomplish with the resources at Recommend the company hand, and when companies act on the and its products/services 56% 54% 52% 54% 49% 46% 42% approaches consumers find most critical, those companies inspire trust, loyalty and Want to work for the company 35% 41% 36% 41% 41% 34% 40% consumer ambassadors for their brands. Feel good about the company Photo courtesy of Water for People and ITT Corporation (client) operating in their communities 58% 58% 53% 56% 55% 50% 49% Percent who strongly agree18 I 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study I 19
  11. 11. 5% NOT VERY LIKELY 1% NOT AT ALL LIKELY When price and quality are about IMPACT the same, 94% of SOCIALLY MINDED consumers are likely 53% CONSUMERS MAKE to switch brands to VERY LIKELY THE WORLD GO one associated with ‘ROUND a good cause: 41% SOMEWHATThey may be in the market for different things, LIKELY but there’s a common denominator uponwhich shoppers globally can agree: if a productis tied to a cause, they are more likely to buy it. C onsumers across the globe want to shop with a conscience. Most say, if given the opportunity, they would buy a portion of a product sale goes to a charity) may not be prevalent in many of these countries, supporting a “cause” is still easy product that has an environmental benefit to do when buying local or from a company (94%) or one that is attached to a cause with a charitable giving halo. These high (93%). And a staggering number (76% and numbers suggest the interpretation of 65%, respectively) report they have actually “cause” is broad and infused in diverse done just that in the past 12 months. cultures in many ways. Why so high? A core reason is access. But don’t count the coffers quite yet. Just as Companies in both developed and many people (93%) are prepared to boycott a developing countries are recognizing the company for irresponsibility. More than half competitive differentiation in not only (56%) report they already have. Companies behaving more responsibly, but also in would be wise not to connect their brands communicating those positive business to a cause or take their CR efforts to market practices to consumers. Although cause unless the commitments are authentic. marketing in the traditional sense (i.e., a 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study I 21
  12. 12. Consumers want to be Consumers have rewarded engaged. If given the and punished companies. opportunity, In the past 12 months, THEY WOULD: THEY HAVE: BUY A PRODUCT WITH AN ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFIT 94% BOUGHT A PRODUCT WITH AN ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFIT 76% BUY A PRODUCT OR SERVICE ASSOCIATED WITH A CAUSE 93% BOUGHT A PRODUCT OR SERVICE ASSOCIATED WITH A CAUSE 65% BOYCOTT A COMPANY WITH IRRESPONSIBLE OR DECEPTIVE BUSINESS PRACTICES 93% MADE A DONATION 63% VOICE OPINIONS DIRECTLY TO A COMPANY ABOUT ITS CR EFFORTS 82% BOYCOTTED A COMPANY UPON LEARNING IT BEHAVED IRRESPONSIBLY 56% DONATE TO A CHARITY SUPPORTED BY A COMPANY THEY TRUST 81% TOLD FRIENDS OR FAMILY ABOUT A COMPANY’S CR EFFORTS 51% VOLUNTEER FOR A CAUSE THAT A COMPANY THEY TRUST SUPPORTS 78% VOLUNTEERED 39% Percent who strongly/somewhat agree RESEARCHED A COMPANY’S BUSINESS, SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL PRACTICES 36% GIVEN FEEDBACK DIRECTLY TO A COMPANY ABOUT ITS CR EFFORTS 32%22 I 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study I 23
  13. 13. T here is no doubt consumers idealistic in their intent, but where are Most consumers 30% reality falls a bit short, there is a great believe companies MINIMAL opportunity for companies to provide the have made a inspiration consumers need to act. Donating, positive impact volunteering and giving feedback are the areas that showed the greatest gap between on social and 39% consumer desire and behavior. Evidently, environmental MODERATE 7% NONE consumers want to participate; they may just issues: need to be asked. 25% If we measured success on awareness SIGNIFICANT COMPANIES ARE THE AXIS alone, corporate social and environmental Consumers are primed to use their purchasing efforts have achieved quite a feat. NGOs power to make a difference, perhaps and charities around the world have because they are motivated by the positive likely benefited from the fact that nearly impact they see from corporate efforts. three-in-five consumers (59%) credit Ninety-three percent believe companies companies with helping to educate them have made at least some positive impact on on important issues, and a similar number the world. India had the highest praise (40% (56%) said they were inspired to support say companies have had a significant positive something new. For some, the connection impact), while France had the least (18% say is even more tangible. More than two- companies have had no impact). thirds (68%) say a company’s efforts have Photo courtesy of Plan International (client) improved the quality of their own or other people’s lives. Ninety-two percent of respondents in China, more than any other country, agreed. Photo courtesy of Tharm Sook Wai for Timberland (client)24 I 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study I 25
  14. 14. C onsumers want to know what There also appears to be a contradictoryCOMMUNICATIONS companies are doing (93%), and they want to be heard, too (91%). Reciprocal communication is more than an ideal; it’s dynamic at understanding. play The between more trust trusting country’s consumers are in business, the and a TELL IT HOW IT IS essential in connecting with consumers more confused they are by a company’s amid a challenging environment of cynicism messages. These consumers are putting It is time to hone those and confusion: great faith in the words of business, even communications skills because though they don’t necessarily understand • 89% of consumers globally believe effective corporate responsibility the messages themselves. In return, they companies share only the positive efforts require two-way dialogue. don’t ask for perfection, simply the truth. information about their efforts, Nearly nine-in-10 (88%) say it’s ok if a while withholding the negative; and, company is not perfect, as long as it is • 71% are confused by the messages honest about its efforts. This permission companies use to talk about their presents an opportunity for companies to efforts and impacts. speak candidly about tough CR issues to build trust. Trust is more complex. On the whole, three-in-five (61%) consumers believe a company is telling the truth about its social and environmental efforts and impacts, but this varies widely by nationality. China is the most trusting nation (95%); France (39%) and Russia (42%), on the other hand, are much more incredulous. 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study I 27
  15. 15. TRADITIONAL MEDIA REIGNS, BUT NEW MEDIA MATTERS, TOO Consumers want a dialogue, but ultimately the upper echelon. In fact, 89 percent of they still find convenience in traditional consumers expect companies to use both Most effective channels one-way communications. On the product/ traditional and new media channels to reach for companies to reach package (22%), media (21%) and advertising them, and most (93%) want a place to access consumers with their (16%) are the most effective channels to more information, such as a website or CR messages: reach consumers with messages about phone number. In this age of instantaneous 3% corporate responsibility. However, media plays an important role, too. When new communication, a multi-pronged strategy will be critical to provide clear information 6% MOBILE 22% MAIL websites (11%), social media (7%) and mobile where consumers are, while giving them an 6% PRODUCT/ PACKAGE (3%) are combined, new media moves into opportunity to respond. IN-STORE 7% SOCIAL MEDIA 9% COMPANY-SPONSORED COMMUNITY EVENTS 11% 21% MEDIA WEBSITE 16% ADVERTISING28 I 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study I 29
  16. 16. ROLE OF BUSINESS ADVOCATE FOR CHANGE (27%) GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS LOCAL (47%) LEADING ISSUE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (43%) LEADING APPROACH CHANGE OPERATIONS (29%) PREFERRED CHANNEL ADVERTISING (PRINT, BROADCAST OR ONLINE) (20%) COUNTRYSNAPSHOT THE TRADITIONALISTS A mericans know they want business Consumers in all countries cited economic to play a positive role in society, development as the leading issue companies but they are divided about the approach. should address, but Americans were more Respondents in the U.S. are closely split adamant. Forty-three percent (vs. 34% among believing businesses should advocate globally) cite economic development as for change (27%), support larger issues the leading issue, and Americans are also through donations (24%), play a more more likely than most to want companies to limited role in society (23%) and change the address local versus global issues (47% vs. way they operate to align with bigger social 36% globally). Only 19 percent say companies and environmental needs (20%). should prioritize support of issues that affect the quality of life in countries around the Despite the prevalence of CR initiatives world (vs. 30% globally). among U.S. brands, traditional views about how a company can approach social and environmental issues still linger. Americans were the most likely of all countries to say philanthropy (11% vs. 7% globally) was the one approach companies should take. 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study I 31
  17. 17. Ultimately, “it is not an either/or – philanthropy or responsible business practices,” DaSilva notes. “Consumers want it all and at a competitive price.” Companies are responding to EXPERT’S TAKE these expectations by turning their business commitments into brand opportunities. She continues, “We are seeing new models of innovation and engagement, with new brands “The U.S. is a country with deep roots in philanthropy and and products being created with an eye toward giving back or protecting the environment, volunteerism,” Cone Communications’ executive vice president while still making a profit.” Alison DaSilva notes. “It’s ingrained in our culture.” Today, there are more than 1.6 million nonprofit organizations that serve as a backbone for U.S. social services. The United States also gave birth to the cause marketing movement in the early 1980s, which has today become a mainstream business strategy for driving sales and building brand affinity. As a result, U.S. businesses and consumers cling closely to these established methods, but the paradigm has begun to shift as skeptical stakeholders want to know how companies are operating beyond their strategic giving. A relative lack of CR-related government regulation as compared to other countries has left companies, consumers and NGOs to define what corporate responsibility means in the U.S., and extensive access to social media has helped propel this conversation. More empowered consumers and employees, particularly older millennials, are a driving factor in this progress, as is competition among firms who must out-invest and out-innovate one another to clearly define what they stand for. “Today we’re seeing leading brands carefully examine their material issues and then develop robust consumer- and employee-facing programs that address these issues OPPORTUNITY in a compelling way,” DaSilva says. It is expected for U.S. companies to talk about their social Businesses in the U.S. need a defined CR strategy that addresses the company’s material and environmental impacts because consumers want to know. However, with this marketing issues from an operational and philanthropic perspective. Brands must find ways to momentum, DaSilva cautions, will also come a backlash when commitments are not authentic communicate their strategies in a way that connects with disparate stakeholders – from or transparent. The risk of causewashing or greenwashing is higher than ever and regulation is customers to investors, prospective employees to consumers. Engagement and transparency looming as the Federal Trade Commission and activists shine the spotlight on misleading claims. are expected and necessary to earn trust and communicate progress to this empowered group of stakeholders. And it’s not only U.S. consumers paying close attention. All eyes are on multinational companies, many based in the U.S., to drive CR progress in countries around the globe.32 I 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study I 33
  18. 18. ROLE OF BUSINESS ADVOCATE FOR CHANGE (28%) / CHANGE THE WAY THEY OPERATE (28%) GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS LOCAL (38%) LEADING ISSUE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (36%) LEADING APPROACH CHANGE OPERATIONS (41%) PREFERRED CHANNEL MEDIA (E.G., STORIES AND INTERVIEWS COUNTRY IN LOCAL NEWSPAPERS) (22%)SNAPSHOT THE MIDDLE GROUND I f one wanted to gauge the global consensus on cause marketing and CR, he product or service was the most important approach a company could take to help solve or she only need look to Canada. Whether it a social or environmental need (9% vs. 16% is consumers’ opinions on the role of business globally). Yet, they were more likely than in society or the key issues for a company to most to say a company should change its support, the responses of Canadian citizens operations (41% vs. 31% globally). were practically in lockstep with the global Consumers’ personal support of causes is mean in most areas. Even on a topic where traditional. Many have volunteered in the past each country tended to have a distinct 12 months (49% vs. 39% globally) or made a perspective – the preferred geographic focus donation (75% vs. 63% globally). And despite for a company’s social and environmental their agreeable stance, Canadian citizens are efforts – Canadian citizens once again closely not entirely affable: only 14 percent believe mirrored the global averages. companies have made a significant impact This universal view makes departures on social and environmental issues (vs. 25% from the norm even more compelling. For globally), while 41 percent say the impact has example, Canadian respondents were the been minimal (vs. 30% globally). least likely to believe developing a new 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study I 35
  19. 19. Although it may be slow, CR progress is inevitable in Canada as companies look to manage and minimize their impact on the environment, as nonprofits become more ardent in their EXPERT’S TAKE interactions with business and as consumers, employees and investors make a stronger call for responsible business. Although more than half of Canada’s population is foreign born, Andrea Baldwin, vice president, Membership and Advisory Services at Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR), believes the country’s middle-of-the-road results aren’t just a reflection of global perspectives but rather a product of Canadian culture itself. “We’re traditionally a middle power – not leaders but not laggards,” she explains. “We have a practical, pragmatic, pretty conservative culture here and that impacts CR. We want to move forward where it’s practical, but don’t feel the need to lead for leadership’s sake.” A cautious pace also makes sense for a country whose resource-based economy centers on the mining, oil, gas and forestry industries. What’s more, few companies are headquartered in Canada, and the business community is a small, tightly knit group. The insular environment makes for measured CR progress, but this also means that “once you have influence, it cascades more quickly.” One person truly can ignite change in the Canadian business world. Not surprisingly, many efforts in Canada today focus on the environment (many companies are using this as an employee recruitment strategy), and there’s also a high rate of traditional consumer- facing cause marketing. Canadian consumers are similarly pragmatic. They want companies to minimize their social and environmental impacts, but not in a way that will undermine the economy or require product trade-offs. In the store, price and quality are paramount, but all things being OPPORTUNITY equal, Canadian consumers are attracted to the product with a more positive impact. This mentality Canadians are pragmatic. They won’t pay a premium, but they will shift their activities also helps explain the seeming contradiction in the way Canadian respondents put much more and behaviors if they don’t have to go out of their way to do so. Reach them with sensible importance on changing company operations than on developing new products and services. “Only campaigns and clear, crisp communications that appeal to their desire to do the right thing once companies have taken care of their own operations do we see them moving into supply chain for their communities and the environment. or the impact of products and services,” Baldwin says. Put simply, operations come first.36 I 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study I 37

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