The results of Reputation Institute’s 2012 CSR RepTrak 100 Study uncover that many of the world’s 100 most reputable companies have little to show for the millions of dollars they spend on corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
“For companies to win in the reputation economy, they need customers and stakeholders to trust and support them," says Kasper Nielsen, Executive Partner of Reputation Institute. "CSR is a major driver of trust and reputation. So CSR is not dead. But with 50-60% of consumers unsure if the largest companies in the world are good corporate citizens, open and transparent, and are good places to work, it is clear that CSR investments are being mismanaged.”
Sixty percent of the 47,000 respondents across the fifteen markets in the 2012 CSR RepTrak 100 Study were unsure if companies are good corporate citizens that support good causes and protect the environment. Four percent believe that companies could absolutely not be trusted.
The CSR RepTrak 100 Study clearly confirms that companies that make reputation management and hence, CSR, a driving force in their business strategy realize results, a five point increase in a CSR rating would result in a 9.1% rise in the number of people who would definitely recommend a company. There is real money in improving reputation through CSR, but companies are failing to leverage this.
“Companies are mismanaging their CSR investments, it’s that simple. They are not applying the same rigor to these investments as they do to their other core business priorities. They are not linking CSR to their business strategy but instead, treating it as a separate initiative and investment. You don’t do CSR for the sake of CSR. You do CSR as part of your reputation management strategy to drive business growth, customer loyalty, and employee alignment,” says Nielsen.
Microsoft has the best reputation for CSR in the world according to the 2012 CSR RepTrak 100. The company is joined in the top 10 by Google, The Walt Disney Company, BMW, Apple, Daimler, VW, SONY, LEGO, and Colgate-Palmolive.