Introduction

Canadian consumers are a nuanced bunch. In a November 2008 Nielsen survey, 85% felt that it was very or somewhat important that 'companies implement programs that contribute to improving society,' while environmental programs scored even higher with 91%. In contrast, only 57% felt that simply 'supporting important social causes' was equally important. Perhaps most compelling, Canadian consumers are more interested in contributing to social and environmental causes by purchasing ethical products (61%) than donating money (13%).

Canadian consumers are a nuanced bunch. In a November 2008 Nielsen survey, 85% felt that it was very or somewhat important that ‘companies implement programs that contribute to improving society,’ while environmental programs scored even higher with 91%. In contrast, only 57% felt that simply ‘supporting important social causes’ was equally important. Perhaps most compelling, Canadian consumers are more interested in contributing to social and environmental causes by purchasing ethical products (61%) than donating money (13%).

The results of our third-annual Cause + Action awards, recognizing the best corporate social responsibility (CSR) plans by Canadian marketers last year, closely mirror the opinions of Canadians. Our panel of industry and CSR experts assessed the entries based on brand DNA, uniqueness, awareness, legs, and overall commitment to the cause – and the message came back loud and clear: Canadian companies are earning the trust of consumers with programs that make credible, natural connections back to the brand, provoking both thought and action.

‘When this linkage occurs it is easier to believe in the cause and ultimately take action – even if that action requires me as a consumer to buy something,’ says Susan McGibbon, judging panelist and partner at Toronto brand consultancy Chemistry. ‘Brand trust drives brand ROI.’

Jump to:

Cisco’s One Million Acts of Green

Rona’s Olympic Fab Shop

Dove’s Sleepover for Self-Esteem

Mountain Equipment Co-op’s Big Wild

Becel’s Heart Truth

Judging panel