Customer perception makes a corporate reputation fly or die

Corporate social responsibility is the new business buzz word to tell one and all how you're business ethics are perceived.

WestJet

CSR as it’s called, of Canadian companies found WestJet and Canadian Solar rated most highly for their corporate social responsibility.

The study was done by the Reputation Institute, a consulting and advisory firm for corporate reputation.

The results reflects public perceptions of corporate performance across three dimensions of corporate reputation: citizenship, workplace and governance.

The results describe which companies are best regarded by consumers for having a positive societal influence, being environmentally friendly, operating with openness and transparency, behaving ethically, rewarding employees fairly and promoting employee well-being, among other factors.

The survey of more than 300 companies asked informed respondents their opinions. These are the top 10 most reputable Canadian companies in CSR:

1. WestJet

2. Canadian Solar

3. Home Hardware

4. Empire Company (owner of Sobeys)

5. Jean Coutu Group

6. Premium Brands

7. Canadian Tire

8. Sun Life Financial

9. Shoppers Drug Mart (Pharmaprix)

10. High Liner Foods

The research also revealed interesting trends:

• The importance of CSR to a company’s reputation has grown every year since 2008.

• The consumer and transportation industries tend to have the highest CSR reputations, while the energy and financial services industries have the lowest.

• There is a growing link between impressions of a company’s citizenship, governance and workplace and likelihood to buy its products, to recommend the products or the company to friends, and to believe and support the company in a crisis.

• Millennials are most likely to link a company’s CSR to their buying decisions.