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Survey: Consumers Definitely Care About a Company’s Ethics

June 13, 2017

10:50 am

Today, in surveys that Uber probably should have looked into before now: Consumers “overwhelmingly agree” that a company’s employee ethics influences the consumers investing and buying decisions. Millennials in particular refrain from “purchases and investments that conflict with their moral compass.”

The report comes from digital investment advisor Stash and was completed June 6-9, 2017, making it one of the few company ethics studies to survey those fully aware of ride-share company Uber’s very public PR crisis, which most recently resulted in the departure of the company’s SVP of Business, Emil Michael. The first sign that Uber had a problem: Over 200,000 users deleted the app in a January protest of the company’s ethics. Here’s what the new survey found.

79 Percent Think People Should Invest With Their Conscience

The large majority of consumers believe a conscience has a place on their daily purchasing decisions.

“Whether they’re hailing a cab or buying a stock, people care about the ethical business practices of companies,” said Brandon Krieg, CEO and co-founder of Stash, in the company’s press release. “This survey shows that while investors are obviously interested in financially wise investments, they are equally alert to the behavior of the companies they put their money into. And it’s important for all investors to have socially responsible investment options.

Simply put, consumers and investors voice their opinion with their wallets.”

84 percent of Millennials Would Consider Ethics Before Investing

When it comes to investing, considering how ethically a business conducts itself is even more important: 84 percent of polled Millennials said that “prior to investing in a company, it would be important to understand its ethics or business practices.”

The report highlights Socially Responsible Investments, or SRIs, as an important sector of the investing community that has unfairly been seen as a fad by some. Others, like investing platform OpenInvest, are taking advantage of the field. As I reported earlier:

“Termed a ‘social impact investing platform,’ the company is one of the first VC-backed Public Benefit Corporations and operates by allowing its users to select issues they care about (climate change, LGBTQ rights, you name it) and then builds a custom portfolio to yield returns in alignment with the customers’ personal values.”

Given major tech companies’ positions on everything from climate change to net neutrality, consumers’ ethics will continue getting a workout in the near future.

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe

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