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Brands that get CSR in marketing right

March 18, 2022 / Reading Time: 3 minutes /
Kayley Peters

Today, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is more important than ever. The world we live in is changing and people have become more aware and concerned regarding the social responsibility of brands.

Brands are feeling the pressure. If done right, CSR in marketing can have a positive effect on company results, as well as helping to make the world a better place.


The rise of sustainability.

Sustainability plays a key role in CSR efforts. Did you know that, according to Business Wire, around a third of the population are willing to pay up to 25% more for sustainable products and, according to Deloitte, just under a third of consumers stopped purchasing from certain brands due to ethical and sustainability concerns in 2021?

Today’s consumers are embracing a sustainable lifestyle and they’re changing their purchasing behaviour to reflect this. Consumers are choosing to limit their use of single use plastic, reduce air travel, eat less meat and animal products, and purchase from brands that have environmentally sustainable and ethical practices and values.

Gen Z, in particular, are adapting their behaviour more than any other generation with 50% reducing how much they buy and 45% no longer purchasing from brands because of ethical or sustainability concerns, according to Deloitte

Consumers are now looking for brands that go above and beyond carbon neutrality, those that tackle sustainability challenges, and those that are aiming to make a positive change on the environment. And whilst many brands appear to be moving towards more sustainable practises, we all know actions speak louder than words and, according to Mintel:

Consumers are less trusting than ever before and are less likely than ever to take brands on their word when they say they’re doing the right thing.

And they have every reason to be sceptical, particularly as some well-known brands in the fashion industry, including Asos, Zara and H&M, have previously been suspected of greenwashing – making unsubstantiated claims regarding their sustainable credentials that result in misleading consumers. 

Mintel states that brands are now expected to report on the progress they’ve made against their ethical initiatives in the form of metrics that align with the challenges they are trying to tackle. When a brand delivers an effective CSR programme, they contribute positively to consumers and wider stakeholders, and are likely to see benefits in terms of brand enhancement and reputation.

Brands that get CSR right.


Patagonia is a phenomenal example of CSR. Their programs are predominantly focused on holding the highest environmental and social standards in the industry, with the aim of making a positive impact to workers and communities in their supply chain.

One example of Patagonia’s programs is Fair Trade. Having been a partner of Fair Trade USA since 2014 Patagonia pays a premium for every item that carries the Fair Trade Certified sewn label. The additional money is provided directly to the factory workers for them to choose how they would like to spend it – for example on community projects or to purchase products they may otherwise have not been able to afford. To date, 87% of Patagonia’s clothing line is Fair Trade Certified sewn and over 64,000 workers have been supported by their participation in the Fair Trade program. 

Not only that, Patagonia also has an entire section of their website dedicated to activism, where consumers are able to donate to a cause they are passionate about and also connect with environmental groups in their community through Patagonia Action Works. 

Patagonia CSR


adidas runs a number of sustainability initiatives but most notable is their partnership with Parley. Adidas and Parley have been in partnership since 2015 and together are tackling plastic waste to save our oceans. Plastic waste is collected from coastlines and then shredded and reworked to become Parley Ocean Plastic™. This high-performance polyester yarn is then used to create adidas x Parley sportswear. According to adidas’ 2020 Annual Report, by the end of 2020, 30 million pairs of shoes had been made with Parley Ocean Plastic

In addition, a global movement known as ‘Run for the Oceans’ launched in 2017 and aims to raise awareness of marine plastic pollution and support Parley’s Global Cleanup Network. To date the virtual running challenge has had over 5 million participants run over 56 million kilometres and help to clean up 500,000 pounds of plastic.

adidas csr

Key takeaways for marketing your CSR efforts. 

Find out more about our very own CSR efforts here.

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