The seemingly inexhaustible list of ratings, rankings, and indices can puzzle even the most seasoned corporate citizenship professionals. They are as varied as the industry itself—from the Best Corporate Citizens and the Best Places to Work lists to the Environmental Performance Index. Through them, a company’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) impacts and efforts are ranked and reported to large audiences—affecting both internal and external audience perceptions. As a company’s brand and reputation continues to be one of its most important intangible assets, contributing to up to 80 percent of a firm’s market value[i], understanding what CSR and sustainability rankings genuinely report about a company is vital.
For most of us, the days of receiving a report card are behind us, but that doesn’t mean that—as corporate citizenship professionals—our work is no longer evaluated and judged. The acronyms may have changed from GRE and LSAT to DJSI, CDP, GRI, etc.—but the assessments can still represent important achievements as well as reminders of where we need to work harder.
The world of corporate citizenship ratings and rankings can be just as intimidating to a novice as exams are to students, as the options and methods of submitting materials has increased exponentially over the past decade.