As business leaders from across the globe convene in New York at Climate Week, the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit and Clinton Global Initiative to solve some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental issues, many look to the Millennial generation as the nation’s growing influencers and social champions. And although Millennials are universally more engaged in corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts, that’s not nearly the end of the story.
Cone is pleased to share our newly released 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, the most comprehensive snapshot of Millennials attitudes towards CSR in the U.S. The findings show more than nine-in-10 Millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause (91% vs. 85% U.S. average) and two-thirds use social media to engage around CSR (66% vs. 53% U.S. average).
Yet, our research shows that Millennials are not all the same. The study examines the unique attitudes, perceptions and behaviors around CSR of different Millennial segments, including the Young Millennial, Mature Millennial, Millennial Female, Millennial Male, Affluent Millennial and Millennial Mom, revealing significant differences in how gender, life-stage and income level impact how Millennials want to be engaged:
INFLUENCING WORK DECISIONS: Young Millennial (18-24) are the most likely to factor in a company’s CSR commitments when deciding where to work (82% vs. 75% mature Millennial) and are even willing to take a pay cut to work for a responsible company (66% vs. 61% mature Millennial).
QUESTIONING IMPACT: Mature Millennial (25-34) are enthusiastic supporters of CSR, but show signs of increased skepticismas only one-quarter believe they can make a significant impact through purchases (vs. 36% young Millennial).
DRIVING PURCHASE: Millennial women see their buying power as the strongest way to show support, with two-thirds (64%) having purchased a product associated with a cause in the past 12 months (vs. 54% Millennial male).
PROTECTING REPUTATION: For Millennial males, CSR is more of a reputation protector than a purchase driver, representing the most likely segment to say they won’t pay attention to a company’s CSR efforts until something goes wrong (64% vs. 53% Millennial female).
WILLING TO GIVE: Affluent Millennial ($100,000+ HH income): One of the more supportive segments of CSR efforts, this group is willing to put dollars, donations or “do-good” actions behind issues they care about. Eighty-two percent said they’d donate to a charity and 81 percent have done so in the past 12 months.
CHAMPIONING CSR EFFORTS: The Millennial mom stands ready to champion companies that align with her values through purchasing products and sharing information with her networks. She is the most likely to voice her opinion on company CSR efforts through comments on company websites, blogs or reviews (78% vs. 60% U.S. average).