In today’s hyper-conscious reputation landscape, every brand and business is best served by taking the high road when it comes to corporate social responsibility—but some industries have to be extra sensitive to consumers’ CSR expectations in order to stay in good graces with their audiences.

According to new research from B2B research, ratings and reviews firm Clutch, consumers most expect food-related industries, like grocery retailers (70 percent) and restaurants (62 percent), to commit to corporate social responsibility, followed by the technology (70 percent) and fashion (65 percent) industries.

Since these industries produce things consumers use daily, experts say it’s no surprise that consumers expect a higher level of social responsibility from them.

“With food, you’re putting those things in your body,” said Jen Bemisderfer, managing director of Seattle-based PR firm RH Strategic, in a news release. “With clothing, you’re wearing it on your body or next to your body. It might seem that technology wouldn’t fit along these lines, but we treat smartphones today as an extension of ourselves.”

Consumers expect all industries to demonstrate CSR—but especially these three

Consumers expect businesses in these industries to act in different ways depending on how they’re naturally positioned to support the wellbeing of individuals, local communities, and the global community.

Technology users expect privacy and data protection

Among people that expect the technology industry to commit to corporate social responsibility, 72 percent of those people say technology companies should focus on data and privacy.

Michael Gargiulo, CEO of, said in the release that businesses need to improve security and protect their customers’ data.

Consumers expect all industries to demonstrate CSR—but especially these three

In addition, businesses need to be transparent about security breaches when they happen so people are informed.

People want restaurants to address issues of food insecurity

People primarily want grocery retailers (67 percent) and restaurants (71 percent) to address local food insecurity by feeding those in need.

Consumers expect all industries to demonstrate CSR—but especially these three

Chicken & Rice Guys, a Boston-based food truck, saw feeding their local community as a natural social responsibility effort and a clear extension of their brand. “Making and serving hot, delicious food is what we do best, so it’s only natural we focus on issues of food insecurity and hunger within our community,” said Steve Collicelli, business manager of Chicken & Rice Guys, in the release.

Consumers expect all industries to demonstrate CSR—but especially these three

People want to know how the fashion industry sources its materials

People want to know how the fashion industry manufactures its products and more than half of people (58 percent) want the fashion industry to use ethically-sourced materials.

Overall, the report suggests that consumers place greater emphasis on how businesses support individuals, local populations, and the global community.

Consumers expect all industries to demonstrate CSR—but especially these three

“In recent years, we have seen increasing interest from consumers in understanding how and where their products are sourced and in supporting companies that use business for positive social change,” said Beth Gerstein, co-founder and co-CEO of Brilliant Earth, in the release.

Read the full report here.

Clutch’s 2019 PR and Corporate Social Responsibility Survey included 420 U.S. consumers who made a purchase within the last six months.

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Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders.


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