The Asia Pacific has the highest proportion of consumers (64%) willing to pay more for products from companies committed to social responsibility.

This is more than a 50% higher likelihood than the proportions of North Americans (42%) and Europeans (40%).

In fact Europe, which is so often synonymous with social responsibility in public policy, actually has the consumers least likely to source ethically.

That’s one of the surprising findings in a new publication The Future of Trade, which was recently released at the National Press Club in Canberra, Australia.

Coproduced by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and Deloitte Access Economics, The Future of Trade looks at trends in trade, and business sentiment towards trade.

Chartered Accountants ethics and sustainability leader Karen McWilliams said brands need to be aware of changing trends.

“While price, quality and service have a bearing on purchase decisions, so do company ethics.

“One of the interesting findings from the study was the regional discrepancy in the proportion of consumers willing to make purchase decisions based on the ethics of the company involved.

“Ethical and environmental standards can offer businesses a way to differentiate their products and brand.

“This presents a great opportunity for Australian businesses as Asia Pacific nations increasingly dominate our top export destinations.

“Whilst customers are not currently very willing to pay more for ethically-sourced products, the cost of getting it wrong is only likely to be magnified over time.

“In today’s globally interconnected marketplace, a company’s brand and reputation is becoming more and more important.

“As a result, ethical and environmental considerations are playing a huge role in consumer choice – and businesses need to be mindful of this growing awareness."

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