The new CSR Index from Boston College and Reputation Institute is out. Katherine Smith, executive director of the Carroll School of Management Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College, remarked, “Reputation is now widely accepted as a valuable intangible asset for firms, and as such it is an aspect of business that is earning increasing interest and attention from the C-suite and board. It is an indicator of how strongly connected consumers are to a brand. The effectiveness of a company’s reputation management will influence the bottom line — in either a positive or negative manner.” A total of 285 companies were measured among the general public for their best corporate citizenship reputations in the U.S.
Interestingly, there was a decline in ratings (2011’s top rating of 80.59 vs. 82.67 in 2010) speaks to the higher expectations placed on companies and greater skepticism about business in general. The continuing scandals, CEO ousters, board malfeasance, strategic missteps, etc. is now placing an equally intense spotlight on integrity and governance issues as it does on corporate social responsbility. Additionally, I have been asked more than once whether CSR is fading in importance as the economy sours and the world seems to be in one big funk. My answer is that it is probably more important than ever that companies step in to make a difference and commit to creating a better world. I think that citizenship is tablestakes today.