Consumers are saying they want more than pie-in-the-sky mission statements about sustainability, says new research from Cone Communications. According to its 2012 Corporate Social Return Trend Tracker, 84% of Americans hold companies accountable for producing and communicating the results of CSR commitments by stepping beyond mission statements and robustly communicating progress against a well-defined purpose. In addition, 40% go so far as to say they won’t buy a company’s products or services if CSR results aren’t stated.
Companies that proactively share the details and results of their CSR efforts, rather than just their aspirations, can be rewarded with increased consumer trust and purchasing, the report states. Some 86% of consumers are more likely to trust a company that reports its CSR results, and 82% say they are more likely to purchase a product that clearly demonstrates the results of the company’s CSR initiatives than one that does not, according to the report.
But consumers don’t expect a business to abandon profits in pursuit of CSR. About 84% of consumers recognize that for a company to make societal impact, it must also realize a business return, such as increased revenue or reduced costs.