Raising the Stakes on Corporate Responsibility

Global CSR RepTrak


About the Study:

Global CR RepTrak 100 is a global survey based on more than 230,000 ratings from the General Public across the 15 largest economies, collected in January-February 2018. It ranks global companies based on their performance in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), now refocused and refocused as Corporate Responsibility (CR). 

At Ri, we define CSR/CR as performance in the dimensions of CitizenshipGovernance, and Workplace. This data helps companies understand the world of Corporate Responsibility, their standing in it, as well as how Corporate Responsibility directly impacts business results. 

Corporate Social Responsibility ranking

In 2018, only one company—Googlemanages to attain a strong CSR score. The rest of the companies sit in the average range. Among the top 10, there are 5 new companies: Natura, Novo Nordisk, Canon, Michelin and IKEA join the top ranks. BMW, Intel, Cisco, Rolls-Royce Aerospace and Colgate-Palmolive slip from the top 10 since last year.

Figure 1: 2018 Global CR RepTrak® Top 10 Companies
Global CSR RepTrak

Corporate Social Responsibility spotlights

Google reclaims the #1 spot after coming in 3rd place in 2017 as the only company to have a strong CSR score in 2018. Google is the only company to have a strong Workplace score. The company's CEO, Sundar Pichai (the CEO with the #1 reputation in 2018), came into the spotlight after firing the employee who wrote a controversial memo that violated Google’s Code of Conduct. Google is a leader in providing equal opportunities, employee well-being, and rewards.

The LEGO Group
Ranked in 3rd place, The LEGO Group is a leader in corporate transparency with a strong score of 70.4. In fact, The LEGO Group is the only company to have strong scores in two out of the three CSR dimensions: Governance and Citizenship. The Danish toymaker is an example of a company that aligns purpose with all aspects of its business and especially its products. In 2018, The LEGO Group started to materialize its corporate promise by replacing the source material for its plastic production. 

Novo Nordisk
The 2nd Danish company in the top 10, Novo Nordisk is in the only pharmaceutical company in the top 20 in CSR. New to the CSR ranking, Novo Nordisk strikes a balance between its trust and CSR score. Compared to its competitors, Novo Nordisk leads in brand expressiveness and purpose alignment. Throughout its existence, Novo Nordisk has set out to drive change to defeat diabetes and serious chronic conditions. As a company, they are committed to fiscal, social and environmental responsibility.

What we learned from our 2018 data: A shift from Corporate Social Responsibility to Corporate Responsibility

Society is demanding that companies serve a greater purpose beyond their products and services. To earn and maintain a strong to excellent reputation, organizations must deliver in the areas of social, fiscal, environmental, and employer responsibility. With these growing demands, we find that reputation is less about Corporate Social Responsibility and more about a holistic approach to overall Corporate Responsibility (CR). The social part, by itself, is restrictive. Yes, organizations are pressed to do the right thing across the social realm, but increasingly in other key areas as well.

Figure 2: A New Era of Corporate Responsibility (more than only Social)
Global CSR RepTrak 2

Along with the significant decline in reputation globally in 2017, there is a decline in CR. The CR decline is 1.5x the decline in reputation and amounts to a 2.1-point drop. There is a decrease across all three dimensions of CR, especially in Workplace at -2.6-points.
Companies with excellent CR retain support at a level of over 80%, while for companies with average CR, that level of support drops to levels of 30-40%. CR impacts business results and companies that positively impact society through CR, see a positive impact on their business. To enjoy continued financial returns, companies must maintain a strong performance in CR and change the trajectory of the 2018 trend of decline. 

Trust counts
Companies that lead in CR have earned greater levels of trust from stakeholders. CR helps companies establish foundations for, mitigate, and repair trust. But the connection between trust and CR is yet to be established in the eyes of the general public and a true opportunity for companies to impact their overall reputation while being impactful, responsible and trustworthy. 

Corporate responsibility elevates emotional connection 
We define reputation as an emotional connection between organizations and their key stakeholders. Leaders in CR maintain a stronger emotional connection compared to performance in the 7 dimensions of reputation (what companies do, rather than the emotion that they evoke).  Through this connection, companies form an emotional buffer that can be invaluable in times of crisis. On the other hand, companies that do not make it in the top 100 list, lack the emotional connection and are predominantly judged on the dimensions of reputation. 

Figure 3: Level of Emotional Connection
Emotional Connection


What are the top companies getting right?

  • Their messaging is aligned to corporate purpose. The top 10 companies in CR, have higher levels of brand expressiveness, with 41% of respondents who perceive the companies to be genuine in what they do and say, and with 32% who agree that the companies communicate in a relevant manner. Yet, there is a lot more opportunity to communicate corporate purpose with key stakeholders. Over 60% of the public are not sure or ambivalent to companies’ corporate expressiveness and communication. 
  • They lead with responsibility. Among respondents familiar with CEOs, companies see a very significant 9.3-point lift in CR. Companies within the CR top 10 have CEOs who are seen to be responsible, behave ethically, and care about social causes. These CEOs have responsibility scores that are 5-points higher than companies that did not make the top 100. 


Corporate Responsibility: A work in progress

Globally, companies have the strongest scores in these CR attributes: having a positive influence on society, being fair in doing business, and promoting ethical behavior. Yet, with average scores across all CR attributes, there is significant room for improvement. A key focus area for companies is to be open and transparent—a key driver in CR. 

Figure 4: CR Attributes Importance vs. CR Attribute Scores for the Top 100 in CR
CSR Attribute Importance
Want to know more about corporate responsibility and its impact on your company’s success? View the webinar and access our research. You can also download our latest eBook below or contact us to learn more about your company’s reputation and Corporate Responsibility scores. 

Download our latest eBook


  Ana Angelovska

  Research Director
  Reputation Institute                                   


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