Exploring Relationships between Ethical Consumption, Lifestyle Choices, and Social Responsibility
Morgan, Carissa J.
Croney, Candace C.
Widmar, Nicole J.
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Despite increased discussion about “ethical consumerism”, insufficient attention has been given to consumers’ attitudes in regard to socio-ethical issues and how well they may align with their corporate social responsibility (CSR) expectations. An online survey of 1201 US consumers was conducted to determine how demographics and lifestyle choices might reflect and inform purchasing decisions. Women, younger respondents and more educated respondents were more likely to value and support environmental protection aspects of social responsibility in their consumption behaviors. Women and younger respondents were also more sensitive to animal welfare concerns, as were vegetarians and vegans, who also strongly supported environmental protection through consumption. Those who traveled, volunteered or engaged in charitable giving also reported more highly valuing the environmental, animal welfare, corporate responsibility and philanthropic dimensions of social responsibility. All demographics reported avoiding companies that used advertisements that were deceptive or depicted minorities negatively. Collectively, this analysis suggests that a wide array of ethical concerns are considered by many US consumers in their current purchasing behaviors and that the values underlying their actions may indeed hold implications for consumer perceptions of and support for corporations and their CSR initiatives.