A recent analysis of 170,000 company ratings from respondents in 15 countries sheds light on which are perceived by consumers as the most socially responsible.
The annual study, released recently, is compiled by the Reputation Institute (RI), a Boston-based reputation-management consulting firm. It tracks social responsibility reputations by zeroing in on consumers’ perceptions of company governance, positive influence on society and treatment of employees, scoring each with its proprietary RepTrak Pulse system.
Lego tops this year’s roster of top CSR companies with 74.4 RepTrak points, having jumped from its fifth place showing last year.
In RI’s analysis, Lego beat all other companies in the perception that it behaves ethically, conducts business fairly, operates transparently, protects the environment and supports worthy causes.
Lego “has embraced corporate social responsibility from top to bottom,” says RI Chief Research Officer Stephen Hahn-Griffiths.
It’s Build the Change and Sustainable Materials Center initiatives and its partnership with the World Wildlife Fund – are part of the Danish toy company’s push for sustainability.
The Seattle-based technology firm retains its second place position from last year while earning a RepTrak CSR score of 74.1.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is a proponent of social and environmental responsibility. Hahn-Griffiths says, “Microsoft is committed to enhancing education as a highly relevant global human issue – and unlike Apple operates as an open source platform that fosters perceptions of good citizenship and good governance.”
The company’s co-founder and former CEO Bill Gates (still a major shareholder) have a stellar reputation for social responsibility due to his work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The search giant falls from its #1 perch in 2016 and this year takes third place with a CSR score of 73.9.
The Reputation Institute says that Google CEO Sundar Pichai has been willing to publicly speak out on issues he believes in, such as countering comments about Muslims made by President Donald Trump.
Google’s slight drop on the list can also be attributed to an overall raising of the bar in the way the public views CSR. “How people evaluate companies, in general, has become a lot more critical because they’re more familiar, they’re more educated,” says Hahn-Griffiths.
4. Walt Disney Company
RepTrak Score: 73.5 points
Score Change 2016: -1.2 points (third place)
5. BMW Group
RepTrak Score: 71.5 points
Score Change 2016: -2.4 points (fourth Place)
RepTrak Score: 71.1 points
Score Change 2016: -1.7 points (tenth Place)
7. Robert Bosch
RepTrak CSR Score: 71 points
Score Change 2016: +1.4 points (twenty-first Place)
8. Cisco Systems
RepTrak CSR Score: 71 points
Score Change 2016: +1.8 points (twenty-fourth Place)
9. Rolls-Royce Aerospace
RepTrak CSR Score: 70.7 points
Score Change 2016: -2.4 points (eighth Place)
RepTrak CSR Score: 70.4 points
Score Change 2016: +1.1 points (twenty-third Place)
Dropping On The List…
Apple, Samsung and Volkswagen are three firms that have seen their CSR reputations recede this year. Since 2016’s survey, Apple and Samsung sank 5.3 points each and settled in 49th and 89th places respectively. VW dropped 8.2 points this year, falling to 100th place.
Apple, which last year held seventh place in RI’s CSR ranking, is likely the victim of its own secrecy. The company was unwilling to unlock its iPhone to assist law enforcement during a shooting investigation last year. Plus, the firm maintains a closed platform, and many are dubious about its workplace.
Samsung’s reputation was hit by combustion problems with its Galaxy S7 Note phone. And vice chairman Jay Y. Lee has been ensnared in a bribery scandal.
VW is still suffering from the 2015 revelation that it had cheated on emissions testing.
The CSR Journal Team