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CSR Websites ‘Do Little’ To Change Consumer Perception

CSCorporate social responsibility websites do little to change people’s opinions of corporations, according to a study by research group Change Sciences.

Corporate Social Responsibility Web Site User Experience 2014 compares 12 major companies’ CSR efforts by analyzing what people did while exploring the sites and how they felt about the experience. In the end, CSR sites did little to change people’s opinions of the brand that were held prior to viewing the site, good or bad, the study says.

Within the group, some CSR web sites struggled more than others to foster trust. For instance, Coca-Cola’s site was rated the most misleading site of the group, which was four times greater than the average for the set. Conversely, Proctor & Gamble was the most trusted site of the group, with a 15% higher trust rating than the average site in the set.

According to Change Sciences a “critical goal” of CSR is to show the public that a company has a human aspect to it — that it has a greater stake in society than to make an extra dollar. This data shows that if companies want to be successful in that regard, they still have a “lot of work” to do to convey that message, Change sciences says.

The following companies are covered in the research: AT&T, Bank of America, Chevron, The Coca-Cola Company, ExxonMobil, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company, JPMorgan Chase, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, and Verizon Communications.

According to research released in January by Clark University, companies that introduce a sustainability strategy throughout their supply chain generally see a boost in their financial performance — but those that don’t fully commit to the strategy generally see a decline in revenue.

The study found that those firms that integrated sustainable supply chain management, jointly including social and environmental supply chain management, generally saw “marked upgrades” in their fiscal returns, particularly through 2011, Strategy and Business reported. However, to see the improvements companies must be patient as the positive effects can have a time lag of at least two years, the study said.

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