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Small Actions Greater Good Blog

Social Responsibility Statistics – Do Well by Doing Good

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Written By Tanya Quinn

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Updated: April 11, 2024

Take a free business assessment to determine your level of Social Responsibility.

Embracing social responsibility isn't just a trend; it's a proven strategy that can yield significant benefits for businesses of all sizes. While most of the attention and study over the last few decades has been given to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the implications for small businesses are equally profound and often overlooked.

Following, you'll find compelling social responsibility statistics that demonstrate the importance of social responsibility for businesses, regardless of their scale. From consumer expectations to employee perceptions and financial outcomes, the evidence is clear: prioritizing social responsibility isn't just a moral imperative—it's a wise business decision.

But why should small businesses pay attention to CSR? The answer lies in the undeniable shift in consumer behavior and expectations. 

This list isn't static; it's a dynamic resource that will evolve with new insights and studies. If you think a crucial statistic is missing, don't hesitate to let me know. I'm committed to providing a comprehensive understanding of the impact of social responsibility on businesses, big and small.

Social Responsibility Statistics about Consumers:

General Consumer Expectations About Social Responsibility

  • “86% of consumers believe companies should operate in a way that improves consumers' lives.” (Porter Novelli, 2023)
  • “82% of consumers believe companies should demonstrate they are following through on promises to people, planet, and society.” (Porter Novelli, 2023)
  • “65% of consumers believe companies should encourage consumers to support social or environmental issues.” (Porter Novelli, 2023)
  • “A majority of consumers, 70%, agree that large companies have a special responsibility for helping to make the world a better place” (AFLAC, 2019).
  • “Americans believe that it is more important for a company to help make the world a better place (49%, very important) than to make money for its shareholders (37%), and a similar proportion of investors agree (40% very important)” (AFLAC, 2019).
  • “55% of American consumers say it's important for companies to take a stand on social and political issues” (AFLAC, 2019).
  • “54% of consumers also say they have stopped using the products of a company because of its public position on some issue” (AFLAC, 2019).
  • “More than 2 in 3 global respondents say environmental issues are significantly (very or extremely) important to them personally. Securing fresh water supplies ranked highest on their list of concerns, followed by reducing pollution, protecting rainforests and other ecosystems, and reducing species loss.” (IBM, 2021) 

Consumer Expectations About Taking a Stand

  • “According to consumers, if a company is going to take a stand, the issue should directly relate to the company's industry (51%) and the company should be offering solutions (77%) instead of just lip service.” (AFLAC, 2019)
  • “42% of consumers have purchased a company's product for the first time because of its position on an issue and an equal number would be willing to do so, even if the company's position did not agree with their own opinion. However, 54% have stopped using the products of a company because of its public opinion on an issue.” (AFLAC, 2019) 

Consumer Expectations About Employee Treatment

  • “Consumers believe making the world a better place starts with large companies treating their employees well in terms of providing fair (79%, very important) and equitable (71%) wages” (AFLAC, 2019).

Consumer Expectations About Environmental Sustainability

  • “76% of respondents believe companies should have programs that address environmental sustainability.” (Porter Novelli, 2023)
  • “32% of respondents will start or increase purchasing from companies that share a point of view on environmental sustainability that is aligned with their own views.” (Porter Novelli, 2023)
  • More than 2 in 3 global respondents say environmental issues are significantly (very or extremely) important to them personally. Securing fresh water supplies ranked highest on their list of concerns, followed by reducing pollution, protecting rainforests and other ecosystems, and reducing species loss. (IBM, 2021). 

Consumer Expectations About DEI

  • “77% of respondents believe a company's leaders should reflect the diversity of the communities where they do business.” (Porter Novelli, 2023)
  • “69% of respondents believe companies should change the way they operate to address diversity and inclusion.” (Porter Novelli, 2023)
  • “84% of global consumers consider sustainability important when choosing a brand,” and “62% of consumers now say they're willing to change their purchasing behavior to help reduce negative impact on the environment”. (IBM, 2021)
  • “Three-quarters of consumers (77%) would be motivated to purchase a company's products or services if the company shows they are committed to making the world a better place.” (AFLAC, 2019).
  • 68% of consumers would recommend the company to others if the company shows they are committed to making the world a better place. (AFLAC, 2019)
  • 58% of consumers would tell others about their efforts in person if the company shows they are committed to making the world a better place. (AFLAC, 2019)
  • 41% of consumers express their support for the company on social media if the company shows they are committed to making the world a better place. (AFLAC, 2019)
  •  21% of customers would reach out to the company to offer their help if the company shows they are committed to making the world a better place. (AFLAC, 2019)

Proof of Action is Required

  • “Only half (50% very/somewhat) of consumers would believe a company who announced that they wanted to help make the world a better place. Consumers and investors are most likely to support companies who take direct action such as donating or developing products, or making investments to address issues to make the world a better place.” (AFLAC, 2019) Such as:
    • “Discontinues products that may be harmful” – 64% very likely, 21% somewhat likely
    • “Donates their products/services to address an issue” – 52% very likely, 29% somewhat likely.
    • “Donates money towards addressing an issue” – 51% very likely, 28% somewhat likely.
    • “Introduces new products or services that help to address an issue” – 50% very likely, 32% somewhat likely
    • “Raises awareness on an issue” – 48% very likely, 29% somewhat likely.
    • “Takes a public position in support of an issue” – 38% very likely, 31% somewhat likely.
  • “If a company goes back on promises it has made to address social or environmental issues, 47% would stop or reduce purchasing, 26% would speak out against the company on social media, and 28% would tell others not to buy from the company.” (Porter Novelli, 2023)

Social Responsibility Statistics about Employees:

General Employee Expectations About Social Responsibility

  • “93% of employees believe now more than ever before, that companies must lead with purpose and 95% say business must benefit all stakeholders, not just shareholders alone.” (Porter Novelli, 2020)
  • “71% of surveyed employees say it's very important to work at a company that supports giving and volunteering.” (re:charity, 2023)
  • “55% of employees would choose to work for a socially responsible company, even if it meant earning a lower salary.” (re:charity, 2023)
  • “77% of Millennials say a sense of purpose is part of the reason they selected their current employer.” (re:charity, 2023)
  • “77” of Gen Z respondents stated it was vital to work for a company whose values aligned with their own.” (John Hopkins University, 2023)

Impact on Attracting Talent

  • 72% of potential employees are more likely to apply for a job, and 71% are more likely to accept a job offer with an organization they consider to be socially responsible. (IBM, 2021) 
  • 68% of potential employees are more likely to apply for a job, and 69% are more likely to accept a job offer with an organization they consider to be environmentally sustainable. (IBM, 2021) 
  • 48-49% of potential employees are willing to accept a lower salary to work for an organization they consider to be socially responsible or environmentally sustainable. (IBM, 2021)
  • 44% of Millennials and 49% of Gen-Z'ers said they make work choices based on an organization's alignment with their personal ethics. (ERM, 2022)
  • “CSR increases the number of applicants by 25%.” (NBER, 2019)

Impact on Retaining Talent / Increasing Employee Engagement and Loyalty

  • “Employees who engage in corporate giving programs tend to have 75% longer tenures with the company.” (re:charity, 2023)
  • “93% of employees who volunteer are somewhat satisfied or very satisfied with their employer.” (re:charity, 2023) 
  • “Of the 51% that measure the connection, 96% of companies find that employees who volunteer are more engaged than peers who don't volunteer.” BCCCC), 2021)
  • “Seventy-eight percent of executives reported success reducing employee turnover when corporate citizenship is a part of the business strategy, compared to 33 percent reporting success without it.” – i.e., 44% improvement in the success of reducing employee turnover when businesses are socially responsible (BCCCC Blog, 2020)
  • “88% of Millennials consider their job more fulfilling when they have opportunities to have a positive impact on society.” (re:charity, 2023)

Social Responsibility Statistics About Business Finances

Impact on Financial Performance

  • 77% of consumers are “motivated to purchase from companies committed to making the world better” (AFLAC, 2019).
  • “70% of U.S. CEOs said their ESG programs improved their financial performance.” (KPMG, 2022)
  • Companies that pair strong stakeholder language with a strong performance on environmental, social, and governance measures “generated 4% higher returns over a three-year period as measured by return on invested capital (ROIC)” and “delivered higher sales growth over longer periods of time (1.5% higher over three years).” (FCLT Global, 2022). 

Additional social responsibility statistics related to specific actions are included in the Small Action Directory where applicable.

Social Responsibility Studies and Reports

Sources of the above social responsibility statistics:

About Small Actions Greater Good

Small Actions Greater Good provides education, resources, and training to make it easier for Small Businesses Owners to do more effective social good that benefits their business, makes them proud of their efforts, and inspires others (also known as Small Business Social Responsibility).

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