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NEW YORK: A new Nielsen survey says 55 percent of global online consumers in 60 countries are willing to pay more for products and services from companies committed to corporate social responsibility.

Buying socially responsible brands is strongest in Asia-Pacific at 64 percent followed by Latin America and the Middle East/Africa each with 63 percent. The numbers for North America and Europe are 42 and 40 percent, respectively.

e-tailing"Consumers around the world are saying loud and clear that a brand's social purpose is among the factors that influence purchase decisions," said Amy Fenton, global leader of public development and sustainability, Nielsen.

Nielsen polled 30,000 consumers to determine whether sustainable business practices influence their purchasing decisions; which consumer segments are most supportive of ecological or other socially responsible efforts; and which social issues/causes are attracting the most concern.

Some fifty-two percent of global respondents said they checked the label before buying a product to ensure the brand is committed to positive social and environmental impact. Asia-Pacific topped the regions most influenced by packaging at 63 percent. North America was the lowest at 32 percent.

Nielsen also reviewed retail sales data for a cross-section of both consumable and non-consumable categories across 20 brands in nine countries and discovered those that either included sustainability claims on packaging, or actively promoted their sustainability actions through marketing efforts, saw a two percent and five percent respective rise in sales.

The nine countries were Canada, France, Hungary, Netherlands, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, and the U.K.

Said Fenton, "It's no longer a question if consumers care about social impact. Consumers do care and show they do through their actions. Now the focus is on determining how your brand can effectively create shared value by marrying the appropriate social cause and consumer segments."

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