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Consumer Research


Who’s going green? - The consumer verdict

Who’s going green? - The consumer verdict

OMD Sense latest

In recent OMD Sense articles have discussed climate change and how it affects two different types of consumers, the Conscientious Consumer and the Paradoxical Consumer.

We know global warming stories will remain high on the news agenda, perpetuating personal ‘green’ concerns people have with regards to the products they consume and shaping their behaviour and attitudes.

We see many brands engaging with this trend, or jumping on the band wagon to not miss out. But what do consumers really think of the brands engaging in ‘green’ issues.

In this piece were are looking at what consumers think of another buzzword ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ and which companies in the UK they feel are starting to embrace CSR. The challenge to companies is to balance corporate citizenship with a fair level of profits

The Social Responsibility research used a combination of five qualitative groups and a two wave quantitative study in 2006 and 2007 with a total sample of 2,655 adults.

When asked what ‘Social Responsibility’ meant to consumers, the majority defined it as 57% defined it as “behaving/ acting in a decent/ responsible way and respecting/ acting for society and others while being accountable for your own actions”. And 53% in 2007 think it’s now become a more important issue than last year.

The good, the bad and the ugly

Well half of consumers feel that companies are taking no or very little responsibility. Brands they feel are leading the way included Fairtrade, Coop, Mark & Spencer and The Body Shop.

Brands behaving irresponsibly were Tesco, Nestle, McDonald’s and Nike.

For consumers behaving irresponsibly included areas such as poor working conditions for workers (84%), connection to a pollution scare (80%), contribution to CO2 emissions (78%) and major users of natural energy supplies (59%).

In general consumers feel they companies provide little information on their point-of-view on Social Responsibility, only 19% agree companies are giving a clear direction on the issue.

Sources of information did they feel were most trustworthy to communicate Social Responsibility issues where friends and family (71%), followed by the internet (63%), radio (60%) and TV (58%). Interestingly, 39% would visit a company website to find out more about Social Responsibility.

Are people practicing what you are preaching?

We asked what actions people are taking in their lives to support their own beliefs. 49% claim to recycle on a weekly basis. Over half think recycling should become law and 39% supporting fines for non-recyclers.

What about those holiday flights? 1 in 3 would pay an extra charge to off-set the carbon emissions created by their flights – an average of £15. Furthermore we asked whether these changes are permanent and 91% said it was.

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