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CSR Awareness Levels Remain Poor Among Irish Consumers

Richard Colwell, CEO of RED C Research and vice-president of Win International Association

Awareness levels about corporate social responsibility (CSR) among Irish consumers is low, according to new global research published by the Worldwide Independent Network of Market Research (WIN).

In its annual WIN World Survey, the views of 33,236 in 39 countries, including Ireland, were canvassed. The survey analyzes views and opinions related to the perception of CSR and the importance of companies and brands’ socially responsible behavior.

According to the Irish leg of the research less than 2 in 5 have heard about CSR before while awareness levels are higher among higher social grades (49%), but lower than average amongst lower social grades (29%). According to the research Ireland sits significantly lower (-10%) than the global average of 48%.

The research also shows that 72% believe it is important to be aware of socially responsible behavior of the companies/brands they are a customer of, with 45% thinking it is extremely important.

Meanwhile, over half (53%) claim to be influenced on purchase decisions by the socially responsible behaviors of companies, with more than 1 in 3 (36%) saying that it influences their decisions very much. The impact is significantly higher amongst 18–34-year-olds (61%).

“This survey is a something of a wakeup call for business in Ireland,” says Richard Colwell, CEO of RED C Research and vice-president of Win International Association.

“At present it appears the efforts of companies to encourage corporate social responsibility is falling on deaf ears, with most consumers not trusting companies to follow through on their CSR claims.  At the same time over half say that their purchase decisions would be influenced by it.  More effort needs to be done to educate consumers on the real actions of companies to do better in this space,” he adds.

Vilma Scarpino, president of WIN adds: “Corporate Social Responsibility is an increasingly important subject, which however is not widely known yet: indeed, there is still a large share of the population who does not know what CSR stands for, which means that efforts in terms of communication and awareness need to be undertaken.

“Respondents are also skeptical about companies’ commitment to sustainable goals, which stresses ones again the need for companies to increase awareness on one hand, and trust and transparency on the other. On the other hand, individuals not only believe that being aware of companies’ CSR commitments is important for them as consumers, but they also believe a company’s conduct directly influences their purchase decisions.”

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