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Disney and Microsoft Top List of 50 U.S. Companies Recognized as Leaders in Corporate Social Responsibility

Boston College Center and Reputation Institute release annual CSR Index

Published 10-15-09

Submitted by Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship

Companies in the financial sector tumbled to the bottom of the Boston College-Reputation Institute 2009 CSR Index while top consumer brands perceived to be strong in the area of ethics, citizenship and workplace practices dominate the top 50, with Disney and Microsoft at the top.

Released today by the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship and Reputation Institute, the index shows the Walt Disney Company in the top position followed by Microsoft, Google, Honda of America, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo., General Mills, Kraft Foods, Campbell Soup Company and FedEx, rounding out the top 10. See full list.

The CSR Index is created using data collected for Reputation Institute's 2009 Global Reputation Pulse Study. Researchers use a subset of survey results that focus on more than 200 companies with a dominant presence in the United States and believed to have a reasonably high recognition factor with the general public. The data captures public perception about a company's corporate citizenship, governance and workplace practices in the United States.

"While the overall reputation of the American business sector has been tarnished with a broad brush, many individual companies still stand out as responsible leaders in the eyes of the public," said Chris Pinney, director of research and policy at the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship. "To build a reputation as a leader in corporate social responsibility, companies should focus on strong governance practices, positive working conditions, and a commitment to supporting the needs of communities and the environment."

"A company's reputation today goes beyond products, services and financial performance," added Kasper Nielsen managing partner of Reputation Institute. "Organizations face increasingly higher expectations from the general public across the different aspects of their business."

A webinar focusing on the link between corporate citizenship and reputation will be held October 21 at noon EDT. Featured during the webinar will be Phil Mirvis, senior fellow for the Boston College Center; Kasper Nielsen, managing partner, Reputation Institute; Dan Bross, senior director of corporate citizenship, Microsoft; and Laura Kane, vice president for external communications, Aflac, Inc. Register now for the webinar (free to all corporate members of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship).

On a scale of 1-to-100, the top-ranked Walt Disney Company scored 79.52 followed by Microsoft at 78.66, Google at 77.03, Honda of America at 76.65 and Johnson & Johnson at 76.57. Consumer-oriented companies make up the majority of the top 50 CSRI performers. One of the biggest changes since the 2008 Index is the presence of seven value-conscious retailers on the list. In the 2009 CSR Index, Target, JC Penney, Kroger, Kohl's and BJ's Wholesale Club are new to the Top 50, joining Publix Super Markets, Costco Wholesale and Lowe's, who made the list last year.

The research shows that the general public tends to rate makers of consumer products, computers and beverages higher along social dimensions. Industries that fall below the global average include banking, finance, oil and gas, utilities and telecommunications. Reputation Institute, which measures corporate reputation in more than 25 countries annually, notes that the U.S. public put a higher premium on ethics and governance practices.

Business executives are also recognizing the important role corporate social responsibility plays in the reputation of a company. In the recent 2009 State of Corporate Citizenship in the U.S. by the Boston College Center, executives ranked reputation as a top driver behind their commitment to corporate citizenship. For more information about corporate reputation on a global scale, see the report the Boston College Center and Reputation Institute issued earlier this year, "Building Reputation Here, There and Everywhere", which examined public attitudes about companies in 27 countries.

About the CSRI and Global Reputation Pulse 2009 Study
The CSRI was created using data collected for Reputation Institute's 2009 Global Reputation Pulse Study, which was conducted online between January and February of 2009. The CSR Index is a combined measure of the public's perceptions of citizenship, governance and workplace practices obtained from a representative sample of at least 100 local respondents who were familiar with the company. Scores range from a low of 0 to a high of 100.

About the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship
The Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship is a membership-based research organization associated with the Carroll School of Management. It is committed to helping business leverage its social, economic and human assets to ensure both its success and a more just and sustainable world. As a leading resource on corporate citizenship, the Center works with global corporations to help them define, plan, and operationalize their corporate citizenship. Through the power of research, management and leadership programs, and the insights of its 350 corporate members, the Center creates knowledge, value and demand for corporate citizenship. The Center offers publications including a newsletter, research reports and white papers; management programs; events that include an annual conference, roundtables and regional meetings; peer-to-peer learning forums and a corporate membership program.

About Reputation Institute
Reputation Institute is the world's leading reputation consulting firm. As a pioneer in the field of brand and reputation management, Reputation Institute helps companies unlock the power of reputation. With a presence in more than 25 countries, Reputation Institute is dedicated to advancing knowledge about reputation and shares best practices and current research through client engagement, memberships, seminars, conferences and publications such as Corporate Reputation Review. Reputation Institute's Global Reputation Pulse is the largest study of corporate reputations in the world, identifying what drives reputation and covering more than 1,000 companies from 27 countries annually. Reputation Institute provides specific reputation insight from more than 15 different stakeholder groups and 24 industries, allowing clients to create tangible value from intangible stakeholder feelings.

Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship logo

Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship

Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship

The Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship connects professionals with research, insights on corporate social responsibility and management education opportunities. Founded by the Carroll School of Management, we help our member companies know more, do more and achieve more with their corporate citizenship programs. We engage over 400 member companies and more than 10,000 individuals annually to share knowledge and expertise about the practice of corporate citizenship through our executive education program, research, courses, and our annual conference. For more information on our courses, research and membership, visit Connect with Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship: Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook & Google+.

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