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Which Companies Have the Best CSR Reputation?

MicrosoftMicrosoft, the Walt Disney Company, Google and BMW are the companies with the best corporate social responsibility reputation, according to a study by corporate reputation management consultancy Reputation Institute.

This is the second year in a row that the 2013 Global CSR RepTrack 100 has named Microsoft as the top company on the list. This year, however, the IT company is joined at the top in a four-way tie.

The Walt Disney Company has the best perception for citizenship, the report says, with about 50 percent of consumers surveyed saying that Disney supports good causes and protects the environment.

The other five firms in the top 10 are No. 5 Daimler, No. 6 Sony, No 7. Intel, No. 8 Volkswagen, No. 9 Apple and No. 10 Nestle, Forbes reports.

The report also finds 73 percent of global consumers are willing to recommend companies that are perceived to be delivering on their CSR programs. While consumer support for companies perceived to be socially responsible is strong, however, the amount of companies believed to be actually delivering on their CSR programs has dropped from 12 in 2012 to only five in the 2013 study.

Study results show that companies that understand how to create positive perceptions of their CSR programs gain the benefit in terms of sales and recommendations from consumers. However, even the biggest companies in the world are struggling to get their message across to consumers despite spending upwards of $100 million on a year on their CSR programs, it says.

The CSR RepTrack 100 study surveyed more than 55,000 consumers from 15 countries. Results show that 59 percent of consumers would also go out of their way to communicate something positive about companies they see as being good corporate citizens compared to only 23 percent for companies perceived to be weak in this area.

Kasper Ulf Nielsen, executive partner at Reputation Institute, says word of mouth is becoming companies’ No. 1 marketing tool and this is a “key business driver that companies need to leverage better.”

The 2013 Cone Communications/Eco Global CSR Study found global consumers have clear and specific expectations for the role companies should play in addressing social and environmental issues with 93 percent wanting to see more of the products and services they use support corporate social responsibility efforts.

Companies that disregard these demands from consumers risk more than just their reputations. Nine in 10 consumers say they would boycott if they learned of irresponsible behavior, according to the survey.

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