Social good? Canadians expect more from corporations

publication date: Oct 4, 2011
Whether it's accountability in cause marketing and community investment or beliefs about corporate social responsibility, Canadians have higher expectations than their US and UK counterparts according to a September report from marketing communications agency JWT. And they're only slightly less demanding of charities.

The survey examines several trends in "social good," or the drive to be responsible citizens and effect positive change.

The end of goodwashing

Today's consumers expect greater accountability from nonprofits as well as brands involved in cause marketing. They want to know exactly where the money is going and what impact it's having. More transparency will mean more focus on bringing about real change and less "goodwashing," the authors suggest.

The rise of shared value

More corporations are starting to shift their business models, integrating social issues into their core strategies. The aim is to create shared value, a concept that reflects the growing belief that generating a profit and achieving social progress are not mutually exclusive goals.

Creative urban renewal

As the global population becomes more urbanized and cities boom, brands are becoming key partners in enabling creative strategies for urban renewal - improving local environments, adding beauty or helping to bring communities together.

Stealing from the for-profit handbook

Nonprofit organizations are increasingly adopting for-profit tactics, fusing social consciousness with business acumen and focusing on achieving visible change.

The report also outlines things to watch in the social good sphere, including new incentives for online engagement and innovations in donation channels. It highlights a number of standout case studies from around the world.

What Canadians think
  • People are cynical about where their donations go: 88% of American, British and Canadian adults said they are "sometimes suspicious about how much of the money I donate actually goes to people in need, as opposed to management and administrative costs." Britons (91%) were more apt to say that than Canadians (87%) and Americans (85%).
  • Consumers believe corporations should do more good: nine in ten respondents felt that "Companies need to do more good, not just less bad." More Canadians (95%) felt this way than Britons (91%) and Americans (83%).
  • Brands have a responsibility toward local communities: 84% of adults across all three markets agreed with the statement, "Brands and large corporations have a responsibility to improve the local communities in which they do business." Those in Canada (87%) and the UK (87%) agreed with this more than respondents in the US (77%).

Social Good is available on

For more information, Kim Finn, VP and managing director, Ethos JWT,, 416-832-0372.

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