They perfected the selfie and log an average of 14.5 hours of device time a day, so you’d be forgiven if you assumed Millennials weren’t especially interested in social responsibility. But you’d be wrong.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has increased in popularity during recent years, especially among Millennials, but it hasn’t won everyone’s favor, specifically with older generations who are ironically known for their philanthropic work and activism (i.e., Baby Boomers and Gen Xers). This begs the question: When CSR is central to a company’s operations and culture, does the consumer care – particularly when it comes to what to buy, where to work and how to invest?
It turns out, they do.
According to the first Aflac Corporate Social Responsibility Survey (ACSR), consumers overwhelmingly (86%) favor companies they believe to be ethical. But it goes beyond just looking ethical. Four out of five respondents (81%) said they were more likely to buy from a company whose philanthropic work was done consistently, year-round – rather than those that activate only in times of need. Further, 82% of Millennials believe companies that are dedicated to their ethics and values systems will outperform their competing brands.
CSR and the role of ethics are taking greater strides in investing, as well. Nearly 70% (69%) of consumers are more likely to purchase stocks in companies known for their ethical standards. Interestingly, this appears to be a generational split. When we took a deeper look, 66% of Millennials would invest based on a company’s CSR program, while only 48% of people over age 35 would do the same.
Additionally, the benefits of strong CSR work extend into the workplace. Salary and benefits continue to be the lead driver in employment decisions, but almost three-quarters of people surveyed (74%) said they would seek employment specifically at companies recognized for their ethics. Interestingly again, Millennials appear to put a higher importance on ethical companies here, as well, as 82% said they would seek work specifically at ethical companies.
Essentially, ethics matter. And Millennials, it turns out, are especially engaged and are taking note.
As a voluntary insurance company, we want to know our customers are prepared for the worst – but our real passion is to make the world a better place. That’s why we’ve actively supported the fight against childhood cancer for nearly 20 years, donating more than $100 million toward research and treatment.
We’re excited to see more companies putting sincere emphasis on ethics and CSR work. It’s not just the right thing to do. As the survey says, it’s just good business.
CSR Perception/Purchase Drivers:
• 79% of consumers believe companies that stay true to their ethics/values outperform others in their field
• 81% of consumers are more likely to purchase from corporations who are active in philanthropic efforts year-round as opposed to only in times of need
• 82% of millennials believe companies that stay true to their ethics/values outperform others in their field.
• 92% of millennials are more likely to purchase from an ethical company.
• Millennials and people with children are more likely to believe that corporations are genuine in their CSR efforts.
Catherine Blades is the Senior Vice President of Aflac Corporate Communications.
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