In the past few years, numerous studies have shown a significant increase in consumers that care about responsible corporate practices. A recent survey stated that over 62 percent of consumers say they genuinely care about companies’ policies more so today than 10 years ago, and four in 10 consumers say they have decided against a product or service because they didn’t agree with the company’s practices.
Because of the recent added pressure on organizations, a majority of Fortune 500 companies issue a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or Sustainability Report available to the public. This increased importance on corporate responsibility has also encouraged more than 8,000 businesses to sign the UN Global Compact Pledge to commit to good citizenship with regards to human rights, labor standards, environmental protection, etc.
One brand that is proactively addressing social responsibility is Visa. The organization recently created new markets in developing countries by aligning social causes with corporate strategies. Wal-Mart is also pledging to be more corporately responsible by committing to sustainability in order to save money and tighten their supply chains.
The motivation for companies to adopt a CSR can be significant. Consumers, vendors and partners are likely to avoid firms that develop unethical reputations. Additionally, companies that disregard ethical responsibilities are at a higher risk of stumbling into legal issues.
Do you think companies are responding to consumers’ demands concerning human rights, labor standards and environmental protection? Will the continued persistence of consumers forever change corporate practices? Does your company have a corporate responsibility plan? Let us know!