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American Workers Want Business to Invest in Their Communities

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Four out of five American workers in a new survey say companies should be involved in community revitalization efforts and actively invest in the localities where they operate, Prudential Financial reported Monday.

Surveyed workers’ consumption habits support this sentiment. Eighty-three percent said they would prefer to buy products or services from a business that creates a positive impact on their community.

Fifty-nine percent said they would be likelier to work for a company that actively funded ventures in their community — something companies looking for ways to attract and retain talent in today’s low-unemployment environment might consider.

Morning Consult conducted an online survey in early September among a national sample of 2,001 self-identified part-time and full-time employed adults.

Eighty-two percent of respondents said companies’ investments should provide a financial return while also creating positive impact on communities.

In surveyed workers’ estimation, the business community is better suited than most other entities to provide the financing needed to help their communities thrive. They ranked small businesses and large employers just behind local government and ahead of state government, individual community members and federal government.

What makes a thriving community? Sixty-nine percent of respondents said low crime was the most important factor, 63% said economic opportunity and 58% affordable housing.

“Impact investments generate the most value when they provide capital to enterprises and organizations solving challenges that are not effectively addressed by government, philanthropy or traditional investors,” Ommeed Sathe, vice president of Prudential’s impact investment group, which manages and tracks an $800 million impact investing portfolio, said in a statement.

American workers’ interest in the role of investments in addressing societal issues also influences their own investment decisions, the survey found.

Given the opportunity, 38% of workers said they wanted to significantly invest in funds that support companies and organizations generating positive societal outcomes and comparable market value. They would want their retirement plans to offer them.

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