Microsoft leads CSR rankings

13 December 2012
LONDON: Microsoft, Google and The Walt Disney Company have been named as the brand owners which consumers around the world see as having the strongest corporate social responsibility credentials.

The Reputation Institute, the consultancy, asked 47,000 people in 15 markets to rate the social and environmental activity of 100 major organisations.

Microsoft, the IT group, registered 74.5 points, and was credited for its "systematic" work to undermine past perceptions that it overcharged for products and attempted to "crush competitors".

A 53.6% majority of contributors saw it as a "responsible company" that behaved ethically and has transparent practices, the best figure on this measure.

Google, the online and mobile specialist, came next on 73.98 points, and led the rankings in terms of its workplace policies, with 49.8% of the panel positive about this aspect of its operations.

The Walt Disney Company, the entertainment conglomerate, followed with 73.76 points, and also headed the table when discussing citizenship, with 50% of the sample viewing it favourably here.

BMW, the carmaker, claimed fourth place on 73.27 points, and took first place in Europe. Disney was the best-regarded business in North America, as was Microsoft in Asia Pacific and Nestlé, the packaged food expert, in Latin America.

Less positively, a 62% share of participants were "neutral" or had "no idea" if L'Oréal was a good corporate citizen, supported worthwhile causes or protected the environment.

This total stood at 59% for Pfizer, the pharma giant, and 58% for Nike, the sportswear firm. Procter & Gamble and Unilever, the FMCG manufacturers, recorded 57% apiece, suggesting they are failing to engage shoppers in this area.

Just 6% of interviewees said these 100 companies had "strong" social credentials. An additional 22% awarded them the same status for how they were run, as did 14% for treating staff well.

"Companies are mismanaging their CSR investments," said Kasper Nielsen, executive partner of the Reputation Institute. "They are not applying the same rigour to these investments as they do to their other core business priorities."

Firms increasing their corporate social responsibility scores by five points would yield an average 9.1% lift in the amount of consumers willing to recommend them, the analysis added.

Data sourced from The Reputation Institute; additional content by Warc staff
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