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Corporations & social responsibility - It all begins at home!

Categories: Food for thought

Posted on 09-28-16 at 1:30 p.m.

For many, the notion of corporate social responsibility primarily evokes the redistribution of wealth in communities, associations and charitable causes, or environmental-protection projects. But one of the main findings of the latest CROP study on this issue leads to a more nuanced conclusion.

For consumers and citizens alike, corporate social responsibility begins with the manufacturing process, the supply chain, the impact that companies have on society and the environment. The commitment to causes, while considered very important, comes second.

A large majority of Canadians expect companies, above all, to treat their employees well, to sell products and services (and those of their suppliers) that pose no danger to people's health or the environment. They also expect companies to adhere to the highest standards of quality and ethics in their practices, wherever they are located.

Canadians are clearly segmented based on their expectations of corporate social responsibility. More than one out of two Canadians want to see companies demonstrate leadership in this area and say that how a company performs in this respect influences their purchasing decisions and choices.

Idealists, for example, have characteristics reminiscent of the alter-globalization movement. They are very ecological. They want wealth to be shared more “equitably”. They believe that their dream of a better world for everyone can be realized. While highly critical of companies, they believe that it is possible to collaborate with them. Because they are very connected and active on social media, they can potentially make a lot of “noise”—both bad and good!—that affects a company’s reputation.

Consequently, brands, companies and institutions need to ensure that the “consumers” belonging to the segments most sensitive to the issue of corporate social responsibility are favourably disposed toward them. Yet, according to our brand studies, this is not always the case!

Is your brand properly positioned on this issue? CROP can help you find out.