Do Good. Do Well.

Study Proves Worth of CSR

When corporations invest in a worthwhile cause – be it the environment, education, or a health-related issue – it’s good for society. Turns out, it might be just as good for a company’s bottom line.

Nielsen recently released a report based on several global surveys that sought to determine just how passionate people actually were about sustainable practices or other socially responsible efforts, and whether that passion translated into practice at the cash register. The results were quite positive.

• 55% would pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact – an increase from even two years ago

• 52% check the packaging to ensure sustainable impact

Now, all of this may sound like great intentions. Who doesn’t want to believe they are conscientious when faced with a survey question? But what actually happens when someone is face to face with his/her wallet? The good news is that intent turns into action. Analysis shows an average annual sales increase of:

• 2% for products with sustainability claims on the package

• 5% for products that promoted sustainability actions through marketing programs

It’s important to note that a review of other brands without sustainability claims or marketing showed a sales increase of only 1%.

How Companies Can Profit

What’s a product to do that can’t claim its good intentions on packaging? A company should spread news of its efforts – in a sincere manner – internally, through social media, and in ways integral to its mission. There’s more to showing that you care than by simply providing funding (though, that is admirable.) A company would do well by engaging youth, families and communities in an important topic.

Here’s a good example: according to Nielsen, 56% of respondents are extremely concerned about improving maternal health. So a diaper or infant formula company could sponsor educational outreach targeting pregnant women in the U.S. at high risk of preeclampsia to make them aware of the disease’s symptoms. With 58% of respondents caring deeply about reducing child mortality, Softsoap was smart to create an in-school health and wellness program that taught youngsters the importance of washing hands.

The idea is to get people talking about your product or company in favorable ways. After all, the same study found that 47% of people around the world rely on social circles to determine a brand’s social contributions before making a purchase.

Don’t Forget About Employees!

One thing to keep in mind, however, is this: consumers aren’t the only ones who care. Your employees want to be engaged, as well. 67% of those surveyed prefer to work for socially responsible companies. Remember, your workforce should be your biggest fan.

Click here and scroll down to the infographic to see the causes that consumers, and employees, care about most.