PayPal Lego Group, Kellogg’s make top 10 of UK’s 50 most responsible businesses

Reputation Institute of UK has recently launched its ranking of the UK’s 50 most responsible businesses with top brands like Yeo Valley, John Lewis Partnership, LEGO Group, Waitrose, ALDI, The Co-operative Group, Sainsbury’s, PayPal, IKEA and Kellogg’s ranked in the top ten.

According to the data obtained by the institute during the research, responsible business practices make people 9.4% more likely to purchase a firm’s products or services, 8.1% more likely to work for that company and 7.7% more likely to invest in it. The institute also noted that plenty of other sources point to the need to make corporate responsibility a mission-critical element to business operations.

The report also noted a strong Corporate Social Responsibility strategy was the bedrock for reputation management of any organisation. But in order for the CSR programme to deliver according to plan it must not be isolated from the rest of the business of the company, the report said.

The institute also pointed out the five pillars for corporate responsibility strategy, for which the finding was based. The strategies are engaging and active leadership, that means the leadership of the organisation in question must play active in the CSR programme.

“In order for a CR programme to thrive on a strategic level, it needs the leadership team to really believe in it, and care about it. If they don’t, they won’t have the motivation to pull the right levers, or allocate the necessary budget to enable those delivering it. Nor will they be convincing internal or external advocates for CR initiatives. External advocacy is key; there is a growing expectation for CEO activism around global issues, and a clear correlation between CEO reputation and overall company reputation.”
The second pillar for effective corporate responsibility strategy is that it must align with brand purpose. This point was illustrated with a quote from Laurence Stellings, Director of Consulting at Reputation Institute.

According to him: “The old way of doing CSR was that you’d get your staff down to the local youth club or public park and get them in high-vis vests, painting fences or picking up litter. It makes for a good picture, but those pictures just highlight the difference between your day job and that one-off adventure. By aligning CR with brand purpose, you ensure responsibility permeates everything you do.”

The third strategy is the need for action and not mere rhetoric. But the report also warned that in taking action, it must not be just to be seen or to impress the public.

According to the report, “It should be remembered that responsibility isn’t just about taking action in order to be seen as a do-gooder, taking action often makes business sense. Asset manager BlackRock has campaigned to get more women on boards on the grounds that diverse boards achieve better results, while the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership demonstrates that responsible investment strategies garner a variety of direct and indirect benefits.”

The forth strategy stresses the need for businesses to actively strive for internal and external engagement. The report indicated that where a CSR programme achieves genuine results, it will, inevitably, get internal and external audiences – staff, customers, journalists, politicians – talking about it in positive terms, especially where marcomms teams are nurturing that engagement. As that good news is spread by that variety of authentic sources, new and broader audiences will, increasingly, feel happy in their engagement with the company.

According to Laurence Stellings, director of consulting at Reputation Institute, says: “If a tree falls in the wood – or to give a more responsible example, if a new tree is planted in the wood – and nobody’s there to hear it, does it make a sound? It doesn’t matter whether it makes a sound; the point is that nobody is there to get excited about it. Unless you’re engaging multiple audiences in your CR work, it may as well not be happening.”

And the final strategy emphasis the need to focus on human and not interest. But it also stress that in making those decision, they must be relevant to the people and not superficial.

In conclusion, the report said that “the elements that build a strong CR proposition – leadership engagement, alignment with brand purpose, action over rhetoric, engagement and a focus on human and social interest – are strongly interconnected.”



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