Do consumers really care about conscious capitalism when it comes to buying decisions, enough to pay more for products and services that come from companies that engage in actions that further some social good?
It’s a much studied issue, as inherent in the answers are factors affecting investment decisions by companies looking to ensure they get a return from any cost associated with being more sustainable. Some companies (Patagonia for example) have been prepared to invest in sustainability because it’s core to their beliefs. Others won’t do it till somebody ‘shows them the money’.
Well perhaps that time has been reached according to a new Nielsen study which found that more than half (55%) of global respondents are willing to pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact—an increase from 50% in 2012 and 45% in 2011. Furthermore more than half (52%) say they have purchased at least one product or service in the past six months from a socially responsible company.
“At the moment of truth—in store, online and elsewhere—consumers are making a choice and a choice that is heavily influenced by brands with a social purpose,” said Amy Fenton, global leader of public development and sustainability, Nielsen.
I’ve been tracking this issue through a range of studies for some years, so I know these new results are part of an observable pattern. But the questions remain – how much more will people pay, and when will corporations accelerate their sustainable investments sufficiently to significantly reduce or even reverse environmental destruction on a global scale?
For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Global Corporate Social Responsibility Report.