THURSDAY 25 OCT 2018 9:20 AM

TRANSPARENCY AND GOVERNANCE KEY FACTORS IN REPUTATION, RESEARCH SHOWS

Over the past decade, CSR has matured from being perceived as something that’s nice to do, but not integral to a business’ operations to something that impacts corporate reputation, the employer brand and, crucially, a business’ bottom line.

Some companies are well known for their endeavours in corporate social responsibility and sustainability. The Reputation Institute’s ‘Global Corporate Responsibility’ study has ranked the companies with the best reputation for corporate responsibility using a public survey and an analytical assessment.

The ratings judge companies based on factors like ‘citizenship,’ ‘governance’ and ‘workplace.’ That focus means the global top 10 isn’t comprised of the usual suspects known for their sustainability programmes. For one, Google takes the top spot. It is the only company that earned a ‘strong’ designation in the workplace category – largely for its prominent and respected employer brand – catapulting it to the top of the list.

Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, chief reputation officer at the Reputation Institute, says, “While many people know Google as a world leading technology firm, they are also a world leader in workplace culture, which has no doubt contributed to their meteoric rise. While the famous electric cars, bicycles and sleeping pods are the envy of every start-up firm, their culture of finding work-life balance, free healthy meals and excellent paid parental leave, means Google’s workplace culture has become a blueprint for companies around the globe.”

The specific factors on which the study is based have also led to Lego Group’s continued strong showing. Its reputation for transparency led to strong scores in the governance and citizenship criteria. The top 10 is largely comprised of companies with visible CEOs, ethical stances on social causes and a sense of activism. New additions Natura, Novo Nordisk, Canon, Michelin and Ikea all take places in the top 10 for the first time.

The Reputation Institute says the results indicate a need for CSR to mature even further, encapsulating corporate governance, transparency and ethical behaviour in addition to proactive sustainability and environmental programmes. Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, chief reputation officer says, “This year’s results demonstrate an important inflection point. We are now in an era when companies need to go beyond just social responsibility – they must have fiscal, social, environmental and employer responsibility. There is unique opportunity for a company to raise the bar and deliver on higher expectations for a holistic commitment to corporate responsibility.”

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