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Report: 85% of consumers rethink purchases from companies that lack focus on climate and diversity

According to a new global report by Exasol, 85% of consumers have changed their minds about purchasing from a company because they felt it did not do enough to properly address climate change. Fifty-four percent of corporate social responsibility (CSR) decision-makers share a similar mentality, believing companies that fail to act on “going green” and other sustainability initiatives will no longer exist in ten years.

The report indicates that consumers no longer instinctively trust the words of companies from which they have previously purchased goods or services. Instead, businesses need to demonstrate efforts towards key initiatives before consumers reach for their wallets. A substantial majority (68%) of consumers will consider demanding data-backed evidence to prove that companies are making beneficial steps towards addressing global warming, diversity and inclusion (DEI), as well as ethical and sustainable business practices in the next 36 months.

These initiatives are also becoming influential for consumers’ decision-making, as over 86% of respondents have indicated that they will decide whether or not to do business with a company based on its credentials with climate change, DEI initiatives, and ethical and sustainable practices. The latter is also cited by 88% of consumers as a key factor when making purchases. Furthermore, there appears to be a hard deadline as to when businesses can improve their practices and credentials: 66% revealed they would cease buying from a company that didn’t have definitive plans to work on these initiatives within the next three years.

Despite consumers’ increasing demand for visible corporate efforts to fight against climate change and a lack of workplace diversity, there appears to be a startling minority of businesses that have either enacted plans or hope to enact plans soon to address these issues. Only 42% of corporations, for example, have a “fully-formed roadmap” in place to ensure climate-friendly business practices are initiated within the next three years, while 31% of those who have no current plans to address these issues still had zero strategies to do so within the next year.

However, there is growing acknowledgment within corporations that something must be done before customers stray, as well as a growing desire for data in order to inform corporate decisions regarding these crucial initiatives. Eighty-two percent of CSR decision-makers agree that better choices could be made to improve businesses’ climate change, DEI, and ethical and sustainable practices if corporations were given greater access to data-led insights, even while only 22% of CSR respondents appear to be using all of the data available to them.

With these results, it is clear that data is becoming a critical resource for businesses and consumers alike as consumer culture pivots in support of various societal issues. Increased accessibility to data should become a basic requirement for many businesses in the next three years.

The consumer survey was conducted among 8,056 employees of companies with over 500 employees that have CSR, ESG, or DEI programs in the U.S., U.K., Germany, China, South Africa, and Australia. The CSR decision-maker survey was conducted among 716 CSR decision-makers in the same regions and in companies of a similar size.

Read the full report by Exasol.

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