Aussies Expect Companies To Play A Role In Social Issues Like Global Warming And Pollution

Aussies Expect Companies To Play A Role In Social Issues Like Global Warming And Pollution
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

Catalyst, a not-for-profit open-source research and insights initiative by Glow has released the findings of a new Corporate Responsibility (CSR) Study, which found Australian consumers expect companies to do their bit when it comes to big global challenges.

Glow is an online research platform, empowering businesses by offering accessible, fast and thorough consumer research. The aim of the Catalyst program is to specifically research issues around environmental, social and corporate responsibility. It will officially launch this July, conducting research monthly.

At the core of Catalyst is quantifying the issues that are most pressing in the minds of consumers, and establishing who exactly should take responsibility for those issues – be it individual, corporate or industrial, or government.

This new research, which was based on a sample of 1023 Aussies aged 18 and over, found that the Australian public’s top five CSR concerns range massively across a spectrum of areas, including the environment, health and housing.

The top social issue was COVID-19, as reflected by 62 per cent of respondents. Next was domestic violence, as recorded by 58 per cent of respondents, followed by mental health and homelessness, which tied at 53 per cent. In fifth place was global warming at 51 per cent.

When asked about where action on these issues should occur, be they government, individuals or companies, respondents felt that taking charge of social issues was the government’s realm.

For COVID-19, 89 per cent said that the government should be most responsible, followed by 68 per cent who said the people, and 50 per cent who said companies.

Again, when it came to mental health, respondents overwhelmingly said that governments should be most responsible, at 79 per cent. 61 per cent stated that people should be responsible, and 43 per cent stated that companies should be responsible.

On the issue of homelessness, respondents believed that responsibility for action lies on governments the most. 89 percent of respondents stated that governments should be responsible, 38 percent stated that people should be responsible, and 31 percent stated that companies should be responsible.

However, on the subject of domestic violence, respondents deviated from the rule. Instead, 81 per cent felt individuals should be responsible, as opposed to 76 per cent who said governments. Only 29 per cent said companies should be.

Regarding global warming, though, all three sectors were perceived to have a high level of responsibility. Though the government came in first, with 86 per cent saying they should be responsible, 76 per cent said that companies should be responsible. 73 per cent said that people should be responsible.

Based on that data, it can be inferred that global warming is one of the areas where businesses have the most significant opportunities to reach out to customers and make change.

What is also clear is that Australians feel the only way to adequately tackle social issues is for collaboration between companies, individuals, and the government.

Also fascinating was the expectations customers had for the different types of industry.

Companies in marketing, advertising and market research should, according to respondents, be focused primarily on the iddues of global warming (25 per cent), plastic waste (22 per cent), and ocean pollution, such as plastics and chemicals (19 per cent).

For those in the media and publishing industries, while global warming also came out on top, as per 33 per cent of respondents, ocean pollution was in second, with 26 per cent. And, tied with ocean pollution, was COVID-19.

26 per cent of respondents wanted to see media and publishing focusing on COVID-19, an important reflection as we navigate a world constantly changing in response to the pandemic, and increasingly rely on the media for guidance.

More than 80 per cent of Australians felt that media platforms and publishers have a role to play in combating these issues – considerably higher than the expectation for marketing, advertising and market research agencies.

Glow CEO Tim Clover said that, “the study shows consumers believe specific industries need to lead the charge for change. For example, retailers should focus on plastic waste reduction, while airlines and automotive manufacturers should focus on global warming and air pollution reduction, ahead of other issues.”

“Access to the insights captured by the Catalyst program are designed to offer supporting brands a competitive advantage in understanding how we respond to these issues. As an open-source program we are welcoming the input of brands into shaping the program design as well as the questions we ask consumers.”

To access the research for free, you can register as a supporter at

Glow provides rapid turn-around consumer research for a number of leading organisations, including Bain, Yellow pages, Reckitt Benckiser, PwC and Target, and has office in Australia, Hong Kong, London, and expanding into North America.

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