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Press Release Story

Aflac Survey Adds New Reasons to Focus on Corporate Social Responsibility Among key findings: Consumers are poised to punish irresponsible companies; investors see CSR as 'marker' for financial integrity

COLUMBUS, Ga., Dec. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Expectations of good business behavior have become so strong that consumers are ready to actually take action to penalize companies viewed as irresponsible. A vast majority of professional investors view investments in community action and philanthropy not as a waste of money that could be returned to shareholders, but rather as an indicator of a corporate culture less likely to produce expensive missteps like financial fraud. An overwhelming majority of employees believe their own companies are socially responsible, while less than half believe that American companies overall are responsible.

These are some of the findings in the second annual Corporate Responsibility Survey sponsored by Aflac, leader in voluntary insurance sales at the worksite. The study was fielded in the United States between July 25 and Aug. 11, 2016, by FleishmanHillard Research and Lightspeed GMI. For this survey, 1,400 respondents (100 corporate social responsibility executives, 100 investment professionals, and 1,200 American consumers aged 18 years and older) were asked about their thoughts regarding various aspects of corporate social responsibility.

"As millennials and Gen Zers are becoming larger players in the global economy, there is a lot of chatter about companies being held to higher standards for being socially responsible," said Aflac Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Catherine Blades. "We conducted this scientific survey because we wanted to dig deeper and measure why companies invest in programs that support environmental sustainability, minority recruitment, community support and similar goals – and what reputational impact such programs really have on today's consumers and investors.  The results were both surprising and encouraging."

Among the revelations:

  • 75 percent of consumers are likely to take some negative action toward irresponsible companies – everything from social media postings to organizing boycotts. 
  • A company that is seen as not responsible stands to lose as much as 39 percent of its potential customer base, and 1 in 4 consumers will tell their friends and family to avoid a company seen as not being responsible.
  • 83 percent of professional investors are more inclined to invest in stock of a company well-known for its social responsibility, viewing such initiatives as an indicator of greater transparency and honesty in operations and financial reporting, resulting in lower risk.
  • 79 percent of full- or part-time employed consumers believe their own employer is socially responsible, but only 41 percent believe all American companies are responsible.

Find the full survey results at www.Aflac.com/ACSR.

Survey Methodology

Research findings are based on a survey fielded in the United States between July 25 and Aug. 11, 2016, by FleishmanHillard Inc. and GMI Lightspeed. For this survey, 1,400 respondents (100 corporate social responsibility executives, 100 investment professionals, and 1,200 American consumers aged 18 years and older) were asked about their thoughts regarding various aspects of corporate social responsibility. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls. The consumer survey was weighted to match the demographic makeup of the United States in terms of age, gender, region, race, income and education. Because the sample is based on those who initially self-selected for participation, no estimates of sampling error can be calculated. Sample sizes associated with the demographic subgroups of CSR executives and investment professionals are small, and results among these groups should be regarded as directional only.

About Aflac

When a policyholder gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits fast. For six decades, Aflac insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. In the United States, Aflac is the leader in voluntary insurance sales at the worksite. Through its trailblazing One Day PaySM initiative, Aflac U.S. can receive, process, approve and disburse payment for eligible claims in one business day. In Japan, Aflac is the leading provider of medical and cancer insurance and insures 1 in 4 households. Aflac insurance products help provide protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. For 10 consecutive years, Aflac has been recognized by Ethisphere as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies. In 2016, Fortune magazine recognized Aflac as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for the 18th consecutive year and included Aflac on its list of Most Admired Companies for the 15th time, ranking the company No. 1 in innovation for the insurance, life and health category for the second consecutive year. In 2015, Aflac's contact centers were recognized by J.D. Power by providing "An Outstanding Customer Service Experience" for the Live Phone Channel. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac and One Day PaySM, visit aflac.com or espanol.aflac.com.

About Lightspeed GMI

Lightspeed GMI is an award-winning global digital data collection enterprise. Founded in 1996, its innovative technology and proven sampling methodologies deliver operational excellence throughout the online research process. With more than 5.5 million online research respondents in 45 countries, Lightspeed GMI's proprietary panels deliver unparalleled quality, capacity and targeting. Headquartered in Warren, New Jersey, Lightspeed GMI is part of the Kantar, the data investment management arm of WPP, the world leader in marketing communication services. For more information, visit www.lightspeedgmi.com.

Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York.

 

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Media contacts – Jon Sullivan, 706.763.4813 or jsullivan@aflac.com 

Analyst and investor contact – Robin Y. Wilkey, 706.596.3264 or 800.235.2667, FAX: 706.324.6330, or rwilkey@aflac.com

SOURCE Aflac