Entrepreneurs who address social and environmental issues are considered more trustworthy by consumers
Social Impact Alliance for Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) says, "It is no longer just about the image. Socially responsible companies derive real business benefits.
POZNAN, Poland, June 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The study "Philanthropy in Central & Eastern Europe 2022" shows that more than half (53%) of CEE citizens prefer to buy products and services from socially committed brands, with as many as 48% willing to pay a slightly higher price for them.
Actions taken by public administration are necessary to create a supportive legal and tax environment, but it is the companies that constitute the most significant driving force when it comes to tackling social issues. Data collected among the citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, and Slovenia between March and April 2022 shows that CEE citizens appreciate socially engaged companies, but in return, they expect transparency, honesty and linking social activities with the company's business profile.
Not only the customers, also employees want to contribute to the growth of responsible companies. Social activity of potential employers is important to 36% of those searching for new jobs. Employee volunteering is becoming an important trend, but only 20% of CEE citizens state that their employers offer this opportunity to them. At the same time, nearly 40% of those who do not have this option claim to be interested in it. – explains Anna Korzenieska from Social Impact Alliance for Central & Eastern Europe, an international think tank that conducted the study. A similar situation can be observed for pro bono activities. Only 14% of respondents state that their employers provide pro bono support as part of their business activity, while as many as 46% expect this to change.
When asked which UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should be addressed by particular industries, CEE citizens indicate that the financial sector should solve problems related to poverty, education, and economic growth. Food companies and retail chains are expected to put more emphasis on combating hunger and promoting responsible consumption. Technology and IT companies should support innovation and economic growth, while the energy and automotive industries should focus on climate-related issues.
Access to knowledge and education was indicated as one of the most important needs in the region. It turns out that only 11% of CEE citizens understand what ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) stands for. For most citizens, philanthropy is part of financial education and should be promoted by banks. According to the majority, social engagement should be taught from an early age.
2022 survey and an analogous one conducted in 2020 in Poland, Czech Rep., Slovakia, and Hungary clearly show that crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine are mobilizing Europeans to become socially involved. As many as 53% of CEE citizens have joined efforts to support Ukrainian refugees, primarily by providing financial support and donating goods. As the year 2021 has shown, the biggest challenge will be to maintain this engagement. It is worth noting that expectations towards more developed countries have increased. A higher commitment is expected particularly from the countries of Western Europe (Germany, Switzerland, UK) and North America (USA, Canada).
Currently, nearly half of CEE citizens (48%) make financial donations – regardless of age, gender, place of residence, or income. The total value of annual donations in the 7 surveyed countries amounts to nearly one billion euros, but their philanthropic potential is twice as high. - This scale of engagement is possible, but to strengthen the social impact ecosystem in the CEE countries, we need to raise awareness, initiate more cooperation, and identify and eliminate barriers, also tax and legal. – notes Anna Korzeniewska.
Development of sustainable philanthropy requires reliable data and knowledge sharing. Central and Eastern Europe, thanks to the growing potential of its society, has a real opportunity to continue building a culture of philanthropy and lasting social attitudes. This is why it is important to invest in research to engage all actors of society in a strategic and long-term manner. – says Liza Belozerova, Senior Manager at Google.org, Europe, Middle East & Africa.
Link to the full report, which can be downloaded, free of charge, in 8 languages: English, Bulgarian, Croatian, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Romanian and Slovenian: