NEW YORK: Many major brand owners are failing to adequately communicate the progress they have made in the area of sustainability, a study has revealed.
Brandlogic, the consultancy, and CRD Analytics, the insights group, assessed 100 large corporations. The two firms tracked 141 metrics related to sustainability, governance and social responsibility, and also polled 2,500 executives, investors and students.
When rating the actual eco-friendly schemes run by these companies, average scores rose from 42.4 points in 2011 to 51.7 points in 2012. Of the 94 players assessed in the last two years, only one recorded a decline on this measure.
However, upon looking at the survey, the mean returns for the same organisations fell from 47.2 points to 44.4 points on an annual basis.
"Sustainability carries tremendous weight when it comes to corporate reputation,” said James Cerruti, Brandlogic senior partner of strategy and research. "Even as real performance rose for almost all of the brands we analysed, average perceived performance dropped off when compared to 2011."
Overall, 33 companies posted higher real-world than perception readings, while 26 players witnessed the opposite trend.
IBM, the business services provider, registered the best numbers for its actual programmes, on 73.8 points, ahead of Dell, the IT giant, on 71.5 points, and UPS, the delivery group, on 70.4 points.
In terms of perceptions, however, IBM logged a more modest 49.2 points, with Dell on 46.9 points and UPS on 40.3 points.
Apple, the electronics pioneer, topped the charts when it came to the survey, with 55.6 points, a figure that was 9.7 points above that merited according to its environmental record.
Facebook, the social network, also benefitted from this trend, having been awarded 41.5 points by the sample of interviewees, but just 18.8 points, the lowest total here, by the analysis.
Amazon saw similar results, as executives, investors and students handed the ecommerce firm 47.7 points, some 28.4 points better than its rating as decided by in-depth research, the biggest such gap.
Elsewhere, Microsoft yielded a much closer congruence on the two measures. The IT company claimed second place among the individuals polled, with 54.3 points, and a real-life score of 55.4 points.
Data sourced from Brandlogic; additional content by Warc staff