News The Best CSR Reputations In The World

The Companies With The Best CSR Reputations In The World In 2016
By Karsten Strauss

For internationally operating companies, it’s difficult to build a great reputation for social responsibility. It takes more than just commitment to community, building a solid workplace for your people and honest governance—it takes the ability to communicate your positive deeds to others lest they go unnoticed.

The Reputation Institute (RI), a reputation-management consulting firm based in Boston that launched in 1997, has annually gauged the way people feel about large companies, brands, countries and institutions. Its latest survey – based on 240,000 respondents in 15 countries – sheds light on which companies are seen by consumers as the most socially responsible. The results this year, for the most part, show the same conglomerates at the top of the roster, though there a couple of notable movements.

For a closer look at the Top-20 companies with the best Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reputations, check out our slideshow.

RI tracks social responsibility reputations among companies by zeroing in on consumers’ perceptions of their governance, positive influence on society and treatment of employees—three of the seven categories it tracks when gauging an organization’s overall reputation.

For the third consecutive year, Google tops the list of companies seen as the most socially responsible. The last time the Mountain View, California-based search firm was not placed atop the ranking was in 2013 when it placed third. Following Google was Microsoft, which took the two-spot after climbing two positions from number four last year (the company was number one in 2013). In third place was The Walt Disney Company, which has held that position since 2014.

The company that dropped the farthest this year was Volkswagon, which saw its CSR score fall 13.2 points and did not manage to crack the top 100. The Germany-based automobile manufacturer has been in damage control since it was discovered in September of last year that the company fitted its vehicles with software designed to keep emissions to a permissible levels during testing, essentially lying about its vehicles’ capabilities. The public, as RI’s survey shows, was paying attention and the firm has much work ahead of it to paste back together its shattered image.

Reputation Institute managing partner Fernando Prado stressed to FORBES that the CSR ranking is largely about perception and the results of its annual surveys are merely an indicator of which firms consumers believe are socially responsible. “When we talk about corporate social responsibilities, we are talking about realities,” he said. “When we are talking about reputation, we are talking about perception.”

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