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As socially responsible consumers emerge, so must socially responsible companies

By Andrew MCDOUGALL , 18-Oct-2012
Last updated on 18-Oct-2012 at 17:53 GMT

Sustainability is no secret in the cosmetics industry but with consumers becoming more socially responsible and social networks offering a platform for increased communication, companies must react to people longing for more social and economic fairness.

According to a new report from market research firm Nielsen, more customers are now gathering more information and looking for products that provide more social commitment, fair production conditions and sustainable environmental protection.

According to figures from the study, 63 percent of socially conscious consumers are people under 40 years old, and half of these are also prepared to pay more for socially responsible products and services.

Rising awareness

Environmental protection and sustainability were most important for two-thirds of the respondents, followed by the desire to improve science and technologies, especially in terms of knowledge transfer.

According to Nielsen, this increase in awareness can possess a great opportunity for companies if managed correctly.

“For firms with an eye on the growing group of socially conscious customers, it is essential to make honest efforts in the areas of sustainability and environmental commitment. More and more consumers desire and reward value orientation and activities for public welfare,” says the research firm.

The study recommends that marketing aimed at addressing the group of socially conscious consumers would have to communicate the firm’s environmental programmes or social commitment activities over the right channels.

Sending the right message

However, Nielsen warns companies against the possible instance of greenwashing as consumers react increasingly sensitively to anything deemed to be false information.

The Internet and social media also play a major role in marketing. For example, more than three-quarters of socially conscious consumers rely on the opinions posted online by other consumers.

Furthermore, almost six in ten socially conscious consumers compared with 46 percent of normal consumers trust advertisements in social networks and increasingly research on the Internet when deciding what to buy.

 The study on ‘The Global, Socially-Conscious Consumer’ analyzed results of 28,000 online interviews from 56 countries throughout the world.

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