The World's Most Reputable Companies For Corporate Responsibility 2018

The past year has seen much of the global business community doing damage control, and tech titans—untouchable as they may seem—have not been immune to the reputation crisis

Фото: © Depositphotos.com/wolterke

While Apple and Facebook, still reeling in the wake of a string of scandals, have seen their brands tarnished, Google appears to have stayed above the fray.

“Google is still viewed as an employer of choice. It’s an aspirational, ‘do no evil’ kind of company,” says Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, chief reputation officer of the Reputation Institute, a reputation measurement and management services firm. Since 2011, the institute has published the CSR RepTrak, an annual study of companies with the best corporate social responsibility reputations in the world. This year’s ranking not only revealed an average 1.4-point decline in the reputation of companies but an evolution of the notion of corporate social responsibility.

“We’re redefining what we’ve previously called corporate social responsibility,” says Hahn-Griffiths. By highlighting the “social” piece of the equation, he says, companies overlook other equally important elements that are at play: employer, environmental and fiscal responsibility. And so the institute decided to omit the word “social” from its corporate responsibility language and renamed the ranking the CR RepTrak. “Corporate responsibility is quadrilateral between social, fiscal, employer and environmental responsibility. That is the new rubric for success.”

To determine the CR RepTrak, the institute surveyed more than 230,000 individuals in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States during the period from January to February 2018. The 140 companies considered were those that are familiar to at least 30% of the general population of the countries surveyed.

In light of this new definition of corporate responsibility, how did Google, just 15 months removed from the release of the now-infamous James Damore anti-diversity memo, emerge from controversy with its reputation not only unscathed but seemingly stronger than ever? Google has Sundar Pichai to thank for its rise to the No. 1 spot, with a score of 71.9: “Sundar Pichai is a strong CEO who is also viewed as responsible,” says Hahn-Griffiths. “There’s a humility and a modesty in how he talks publicly.”

Pichai’s unwavering character was put to the test just after the contents of Damore’s memo became publicly known. On a family vacation far from the Mountain View campus, Pichai could have hidden behind Google’s public relations machine. But he returned from vacation early, addressing the situation head-on by firing Damore and denouncing discrimination in a companywide email. In doing so, Pichai demonstrated his commitment to ensuring Google’s status as an equal opportunity employer, not to mention his genuine concern for the well-being of his employees, a sentiment that’s core to the culture and perks for which the organization is renowned.

“Google is celebrated based on its values, culture and commitment to creating a thriving workplace,” says Hahn-Griffiths. “If you can’t treat people who work for your company well, you can’t accomplish the goal of being good at corporate responsibility.” And yet, despite its strong reputation, even Google must be wary of the looming hazards, such as those posed by the recent Google Plus data breach. “Google should be wary of governance, especially related to data, integrity and usage,” says Hahn-Griffiths. “It needs to be open, transparent and tread carefully.”

When it comes to product transparency, no CR RepTrak company is doing better than Lego. Coming in at No. 3 with a score of 69.4, the Danish toymaker has long been known for creating the colorful building blocks of children’s play. More recently, though, the Lego name has become synonymous with environmental sustainability. In March 2018, Lego announced plans to produce pieces made from plant-based sources. Just four months later, the organization followed through, releasing the first batch of sustainably sourced, sugarcane-based Lego bushes, leaves and trees. This is just one of the many steps Lego is looking to take toward its goal of using sustainable materials in all core products and packaging in by 2030. “Lego is a very solid corporate entity, a very purposeful company that drives learning through play while respecting the environment,” says Hahn-Griffiths. “It’s literally putting its sense of purpose and sense of corporate responsibility into its products.”

Another organization aligning product with purpose is Novo Nordisk, ranked No. 5, with a score of 68.7. The Denmark-based business is the only pharmaceutical company to appear in the top 30, perhaps a testament to the trust-based relationships it’s built with consumers at a time when confidence in big pharma is at an all-time low. “The only way to build trust is to earn trust,” says Hahn-Griffiths. “There’s a strong, deep understanding that Novo Nordisk is driving change and saving lives.” Through innovative, patient-focused offerings like Ask Sophia—an AI-powered chatbot built to answer diabetes-related questions—and NovoPen 6 and NovoPen Echo Plus—the company’s first commercially available, smart insulin pens—Novo Nordisk has demonstrated its dedication to responsible, accessible healthcare.

While the name of the reputation game has changed, the key to becoming a business known for corporate responsibility is exactly the same—a united workforce. “Creating a company that is viewed as having high corporate responsibility begins from the inside out,” says Hahn-Griffiths. “When you have internal alignment, the external story becomes much more powerful.”

Rank Company RepTrak Score Change YOY
1 Google 71.9 Up
2 The Walt Disney Company 69.5 Up
3 Lego 69.4 Down
4 Natura 69.4 New
5 Novo Nordisk 68.7 New
6 Microsoft 68.1 Down
7 Bosch 68.1 --
8 Canon 67.6 Up
9 Michelin 67.6 Up
10 IKEA 67.2 Up
11 Rolls-Royce 67.2 Down
12 Cisco 67.1 Down
13 Intel 67.0 Down
14 BMW Group 66.9 Down
15 Toyota 66.9 Up
16 Philips 66.9 Up
17 Bridgestone 66.6 Up
18 Goodyear 66.6 Up
19 Embraer 66.5 New
20 3M 66.5 Down
21 Danone 66.5 Up
22 Sony 66.5 Down
23 Siemens 66.5 Up
24 SAP 66.4 Down
25 Lufthansa Group 66.4 New
26 Nintendo 66.4 Up
27 Anheuser-Busch InBev 66.2 Down
28 Havaianas 66.2 New
29 Lilly 66.2 New
30 Airbus 66.2 Down
31 LG 66.1 Up
32 Lavazza 66.1 New
33 Oracle 66.1 Up
34 Sanofi 66.1 New
35 Rolex 66.0 Down
36 Honeywell 66.0 New
37 Kimberly-Clark 66.0 New
38 Adidas 66.0 Down
39 Visa 65.9 Up
40 IHG 65.9 New
41 Dell 65.9 Up
42 Colgate-Palmolive 65.9 Down
43 Pirelli 65.8 Down
44 Hewlett-Packard 65.7 Down
45 Kraft Heinz 65.7 Up
46 Campbell's 65.6 Down
47 Whirlpool 65.6 Down
48 Honda 65.5 Down
49 Hershey's 65.5 Up
50 Kellogg's 65.4 Up
51 Netflix 65.4 Up
52 Caterpillar 65.3 Down
53 Ferrero 65.3 Down
54 Estée Lauder Companies 65.2 Down
55 Panasonic 65.1 Up
56 Marriott International 65.1 New
57 Barilla 65.0 Down
58 P&G 65.0 Down
59 Daimler 65.0 Down
60 Johnson & Johnson 65.0 Down
61 British Airways 64.9 Down
62 Fuji Film 64.9 Down
63 IBM 64.9 Down
64 Samsung 64.9 Up
65 Levi Strauss & Co. 64.9 Down
66 Mahindra 64.8 New
67 FedEx 64.7 Down
68 Roche 64.7 New
69 Virgin 64.7 Down
70 LinkedIn 64.7 Down
71 Air France - KLM 64.6 Down
72 GE 64.4 Down
73 Carlsberg Group 64.4 New
74 PSA Groups 64.3 Up
75 Electrolux 64.3 Down
76 Boeing 64.3 Down
77 Xerox 64.2 Down
78 Giorgio Armani 64.2 Down
79 Heineken 64.1 Down
80 Ford 64.1 Down
81 Mars 64.1 New
82 Bayer 63.9 New
83 ING 63.9 Down
84 L'Oréal 63.9 Down
85 Ralph Lauren 63.9 Down
86 Nokia 63.8 Up
87 Hilton 63.8 Down
88 Apple 63.7 Down
89 Nestlé 63.6 Down
90 Fujitsu 63.6 Down
91 DHL Express 63.5 Down
92 GlaxoSmithKline 63.5 New
93 Nike 63.5 Down
94 Mary Kay 63.5 New
95 Groupe Renault 63.5 Down
96 Nissan Motor Corporation 63.4 Down
97 Unilever 63.3 Down
98 Mastercard 63.2 Down
99 Accenture 63.1 New
100 Hitachi 63.1 Down

Vicky Valet, Forbes Staff

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