Consumers are more likely to use their purchasing power to support the greater good—or at least say they are.

New research by Nielsen finds that consumers are growing more likely to use their purchasing power to support the greater good—or at least, they’re more likely to make this claim. A majority (55 percent) of 30,000-plus people across 60 countries surveyed said they would be willing to pay more for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact, up from 50 percent in 2012 and 45 percent in 2011. People in the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America and the Middle East/Africa are most likely to say they would pay more, with Latin America seeing the biggest jump in socially conscious consumers since 2011. Nielsen also examined which issues are most important to these consumers, as illustrated here.

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It’s increasingly essential for brands to reassess their social responsibility initiatives, committing more broadly to making a positive impact and integrating social issues into their core strategies. This aligns with The Rise of Shared Value, one of our 10 Trends for 2012—the idea that generating a profit and achieving social progress are not mutually exclusive goals. Indeed, as Businessweek reports, a March 2014 year-over-year analysis by Nielsen found an average annual sales bump of 2 percent for products whose packaging carries sustainability claims and 5 percent for products whose marketing programs promoted sustainability actions, compared with a 1 percent increase for 14 brands without sustainability claims or marketing.