Setting the Record Straight: Millennials Believe in CSR

Jun 13, 2012 2:15 PM ET

By Allison McGuire

I’ve recently been struck by how much Millennials believe in corporate social responsibility. (You can read my post on Millennials and engagement here.) You may not come across a group of Millennials in deep conversation using world like ‘sustainability’ and ‘greening the supply chain’ or reviewing the latest CSR report from Nestlé, but my generation actively seeks out brands that they recognize as doing good and acting responsibly. 

Upon participating in a Tweetup on Campbell Soup’s new CSR report with its VP of Public Affairs and Corporate Responsibility, Dave Stangis, and his crack team of CSR experts, I realized how much work goes into creating CSR reports. I’m not just talking about the reporting, research, and writing of the document—though that’s a massive undertaking—I’m particularly interested in how much companies have to work to prove all that work was worth it. 

Stangis answered questions from a wide variety of CSR professionals, including one of my own (Why is it important to you to be the leader in your field?), and was incredibly open and honest about Campbell’s process, reporting, and challenges. 

Here’s what I want Campbell CSR and all other companies to know: Millennials believe in the work you are doing—it’s worth it.

My generation has been imbued with a sense of responsibility. We feel responsible for ourselves, our neighbors (online and off), our communities, our planet. We grew up learning the importance of recycling and using less water, and that our actions directly affect our communities. In return, we believe that companies have a responsibility to us, our society, and our world. 

We understand the importance of a bottom line, but believe companies need to give back some of what they’ve earned. We see smart ways for companies to do this too—such as transparency in reporting, sustainable business practices, and using company products and services for good. According to Edelman’s goodpurpose study, a whopping 76% of global consumers believe it is okay for brands to support good causes and make money at the same time, up from 57% in 2008. 

The same study showed 73% of global consumers switching brands, if a similar product or service was offered by a company supporting a good cause.

Why are these numbers growing? Why are the percentages so high?

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