Published at 2020, May 21th
Products sold by companies more engaged in corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives are seen as safer, more durable and less risky by consumers, according to a study published in the Journal of Business Ethics.
We have known for years now that CSR is a driver of growth for companies, positive environmental and social impacts aside. These committed companies are known for having a better reputation compared to others that dismiss CSR. They are also less exposed to risks across their supply chain, while also benefiting from a special tighter and more transparent relationship with consumers.
A new study, published in the Journal of Business Ethics, confirms and reinforces these findings. It shows that the products sold by the companies most involved in CSR initiatives are perceived as being less risky and more sustainable by consumers. Further explanations right ahead.
Do Sustainable Companies Offer Safer Products and Services?
The study’s researchers confronted consumers with information from different companies and tried to study people’s perceptions of these products, as well as their willingness to buy them.
As a result, they found that companies with clearer commitments in terms of social responsibility benefited from a more positive consumer perception. Specifically, consumers tend to perceive these companies’ products as safer and more durable, and, therefore, their purchasing intentions were stronger.
In other words, consumers seem to believe CSR committed companies are less likely to engage in unfair practices such as planned obsolescence compared to others that don’t have a sustainable development mindset. In this way, it looks like CSR committed companies offer better guarantees of taking good care of customers.
Engagement Approach and The Respect for Stakeholders
In general, it looks like the more consumers perceive companies are doing or have done real, impactful changes across their core businesses in order to have a better impact, the higher consumer trust is. This trust feeling also increases if a company is seen as one that takes good care of its employees’ well-being and manages its operations in a healthy and secure way.
The more a company collaborates and protects its stakeholders, the more consumers seem to see it as an organization that listens to its customers and their interests. Therefore, purchasing from these responsible companies seems less risky because consumers perceive a lower risk of mistakes or hidden imperfections.
In a context of constant distrust of citizens towards businesses, this is one more reason for businesses to engage in the process of social responsibility and start developing CSR strategies, CSR reports, or impact assessments.