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Sustainability Leadership Report - Measuring Perception vs. Reality

By in CRD Analytics on April 6, 2012

This report summarizes a study that compared perceived and actual reported corporate performance on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors for 100 leading companies across most industries. The global study, conducted by Brandlogic and CRD Analytics, measured perceptions in six countries among three key audiences: investment professionals, purchasing professionals and graduating university students soon entering the workforce, all of whom have reasons to be highly attentive to the performance of corporations on ESG factors.

The goal of the study is to help those responsible for managing corporate reputation–both staff and line executives–understand the gap between perception and reality regarding their ESG performance. The study’s insights offer valuable input as these professionals seek to influence key external stakeholders, helping to target communications and operational investments surrounding ESG. This report contains only high-level findings. Detailed analyses of individual companies and sectors are available separately from Brandlogic Corporation.

The study revealed a number of key findings and insights.
• Regression analysis revealed social factors were, on average across the sample, twice as significant as either environmental or governance factors in determining survey respondents’ perception of good corporate citizenship in 2011.
• When asked about the importance of good
corporate citizenship in respondents’ decision making, we learned that an overwhelming majority
–88 percent–state that it is “important.” Nearly half–45 percent–view it as “extremely important.”
• Within the overall rankings, there were some striking–and surprising–findings. For example, the perceived performance of respected companies like Google and Apple dramatically exceeded their actual ESG performance.
• From an industry sector standpoint, Pharmaceuticals stands out, with almost all surveyed companies leading in both actual and perceived performance. Several IT companies also displayed leadership in both measures.
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