When it comes to corporate responsibility, consumers aren't just paying closer attention, they're ready to kick brands that don't behave to the curb: Some 93% are willing to boycott corporations that behave poorly, and 56% have already done so.
And they are also willing to reward companies they perceive as responsible, reports the 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study, with 94% saying they would buy a product that has an environmental benefit and 76% saying they have already done so in the past 12 months. Cause-related products are just as popular, appealing to 93% of the more than 10,000 consumers polled in 10 countries. And 65% have already purchased such a product.
The most important issue for companies to address? Economic development, with 34% of respondents placing it first. Combined with the environment (21%), these issues represent the attention of more than half of the 10,000 respondents. Human rights comes in a more distant third (12%).
The survey -- which included the U.S., U.K., Canada, Brazil, Germany, France, Russia, China, India and Japan -- found that while people are willing to accept a company's word on important issues (with 59% saying companies have educated them on key issues), more are willing to do their own digging. Some 36% say they have done their homework, researching a company's business practices or support of issues; 32% have given feedback directly to the company.
And while consumers say they want a dialog with companies about how they are handling these issues, they still find one-way communication most convenient, with 22% saying they want that information on a package, 21% through the media, and 16% through advertising. A smaller group wants to interact online, with 11% mentioning Web sites, 7% social media, and 3% mobile devices.
The most important element, the Boston-based Cone reports, is simply telling the truth: 88% say it's fine with them if a company isn't perfect, as long as it is honest about its efforts.