Consumers define social responsibility

The better companies treat their employees, the higher many consumers rate them as socially-responsible corporate citizens, a new study says.

Almost half the consumers surveyed say the way companies treat and pay their workers is the most important determinant of social responsibility, says a report conducted by National Consumers League and Fleishman-Hillard.

More than three in four consumers say they believe pay hikes for employees should come before charitable contributions, the study says, and a similar number say employee treatment influences purchasing decisions.

Respondents also say it is important to associate with people and companies who share their values and principles.

Almost eight in 10 say it is important to work for a company with similar values, more than six in 10 say it is important to buy products and services from like companies, and more than seven in 10 say they prefer to socialize with people who have similar values, the study says.

But overall, only two in 10 consumers believe corporate America is doing a good job being socially responsible, and only three in 10 believe companies have improved their efforts over the last two to three years.

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