Publix Super Markets earned the No. 1 spot followed by Google and UPS in the 2011 ranking of the 50 companies with the best corporate citizenship reputations among the U.S. public as compiled by the Center for Corporate Citizenship and Reputation Institute.
The Corporate Social Responsibility Index (CSR Index) was developed by researchers at the Center in conjunction with the Reputation Institute to understand how companies’ reputations are affected by public perceptions of performance related to citizenship (the community and the environment), governance (ethics and transparency) and workplace practices. Rankings in the 2011 CSR Index are based on a survey conducted in January 2011 of 7,790 online consumers in the United States.
An employee-owned supermarket chain with headquarters in Lakeland, Fla., Publix topped the rankings with a score of 80.59 on a 100-point scale, followed by Google at 77.10 and UPS at 76.16. Three other Center members made the top 10 of the CSR Index rankings: FedEx (75.73), Campbell Soup Company (75.40) and Baxter International (75.18), ranked seventh, eighth and ninth respectively.
Among the 285 companies measured in the 2011 CSR Index, 10 rated scores of 75 or higher to place them in the excellent category and another 57 scored 70 or more to reach the strong category. Among the top 50, every company scored 71.1 or higher. With less than 10 points separating No. 1 from No. 50, it’s clear that all 50 represent an elite group of brands.
Looking at the scores of all 285 companies in the 2011 CSR Index, there was an overall drop in ratings of companies’ social responsibility at a time when public expectations of corporate social responsibility from business remain high, with ethics and governance issues continuing to be in the spotlight. The public in 2011 seemed to be more demanding of companies and the perception of reputation declined across the board. This year’s top score of 80.59 (on a 100-point scale) compares to the top score of 82.67 in 2010.
“Reputation is now widely accepted as a valuable intangible asset for firms, and as such it is an aspect of business that is earning increasing interest and attention from the C-suite and board,” said Katherine V. Smith, executive director of the Carroll School of Management Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College. “It is an indicator of how strongly connected consumers are to a brand. The effectiveness of a company's reputation management will influence the bottom line – in either a positive or negative manner.”
The CSR Index was created using data collected for Reputation Institute’s Global Pulse 2011, which was conducted online in January 2011. A Pulse score is a measure of corporate reputation calculated by averaging perceptions of four indicators of trust, esteem, admiration and good feeling obtained from a representative sample of at least 100 respondents who were familiar with the company. Possible scores range from a low of 0 to a high of 100. Pulse scores that differ by more than plus/minus 0.5 are significantly different at the 95 percent confidence level.
Each of the 7,790 respondents surveyed for the 2011 CSR Index was allowed to rate a maximum of five companies with which they were familiar, resulting in a total of 24,977 ratings of 285 selected companies. All companies were rated by at least 100 respondents. Ratings are statistically significant at a 95 percent confidence level with a margin of error plus/minus 0.5. In other words, companies have significantly different results when their scores are greater than 0.5 points apart. Respondents’ distribution represents the U.S. adult population based on age and gender.
Reputation Institute is the world’s leading reputation management consultancy, enabling leaders to make more confident business decisions that build and protect reputational capital and drive competitive advantage. Founded in 1997, and with a presence in 30 countries, Reputation Institute provides best-in-class thinking in reputation consulting delivers fact-based insights to empower more confident decision-making and enables clients to achieve their corporate objectives. Reputation Institute also disseminates its knowledge, bringing together a global network to leverage extensive research, sophisticated analysis and rigorous methodologies that strengthen relationships with key stakeholders and add tangible value through management, growth and protection of corporate reputations. www.ReputationInstitute.com