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A new GoodPurpose study

Posted Apr 09 2009 7:14pm

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The 2.nd GoodPurpose study published by Edelman, one of the worlds largest PR firms, comes up with many of the same findings regarding the importance for companies to be seen as good public citizens by supporting social causes, as the Generation Generosity report I wrote about a few days ago:

Around the world, people are becoming more involved in championing social causes and increasingly recognize the need to make a direct impact on a variety of global and local issues, from poverty, hunger and education to the environment, human rights and tolerance. And they are demanding that companies engage with them in “doing something” to make a difference.

Looking at Germany, thus

  • 8 in 10 German consumers (82%) are willing to change their consumption habits to make tomorrow’s world a better place.
  • Over three quarters of German consumers (77%) think it is important to buy from companies that they know are socially responsible.
  • Two-thirds of German consumers (66%) like to buy brands that make a donation to worthy causes.
  • Consumers move from viewers to collaborators and want to be engaged more than ever before.

As an anthropologist I am often rather doubtful when confronted with figures like these. Of course, in interviews people like to present themselves in as progressive and positive a light as possible, but whether their actions actually measure up to their intentions is a completely different story. I remember a consumption study which concluded that only 20% of what consumers had said about their shopping habits was actually true. In the interview situation they for example vastly overstated the amount of organically grown produce they bought. When the anthropologist followed the persons around the supermarket, their decisions looked very different indeed. 

Still, I do believe that we are witnessing a change of consumption towards a more socially responible behaviour. I run my own empirical study group: my children. When travelling with them to London, Paris or San Francisco, they are searching the Gap stores for only one product line: product red.

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