North Americans and Australians rank highest as ethical consumers

Canadian, American, and Australian consumers are among the most active and empowered ethical consumers in the world, while Indian consumers rank at the bottom, according to the 2011 GlobeScan Ethical Consumerism Funnel.
This is the result of analysis of results to a range of questions asked in our annual survey of consumer attitudes towards business in society. Filtering consumers to identify only those who are both highly attentive to responsible business and active as ethical consumers, we can see that as many as three-in-ten Canadians, and more than one-quarter of Americans and Australians, profess high expectations on companies to act responsibly in the areas of product safety, environmental integrity, and employee treatment, while claiming to be aware of what companies do to be responsible, and in addition also say they reward and punish companies for being socially responsible or irresponsible in their purchasing choices. However, the proportion of aware and active ethical consumers in the USA has decreased over the past two years, possibly as a result of persistent economic concerns.
Emerging major markets Brazil, China, and India rank low on GlobeScan’s ethical consumerist index, as consumers there expect less of companies and say they are less aware of companies’ CSR activities, while they are also less likely to make their purchasing choices based on perception of companies’ acting responsibly or irresponsibly. This suggests that while consumers are becoming more aware in these nations, the responsible business agenda has yet to break through to the mainstream consumer, and that companies will need to frame their CSR messaging within the context of economic growth and job creation in these countries.
Finding from the GlobeScan Radar, Wave 1, 2011
This post was written by former GlobeScan Research Director, Sam Mountford.