Finn Partners has teamed up with The Harris Poll to create an index that measures a company's corporate reputation for social good. The 2018 Societal ROI Index combines elements of leadership, citizenship and real-world engagement to create assessments of 100 highly visible companies.
"This new metric provides business leaders with an unprecedented read on what aspects of their social-good performance might be most helpful or harmful to their growth," said The Harris Poll managing director of corporate reputation Wendy Salomon.
Wegmans was the top company on the list, with a score of 85 out of a possible 100 points. Patagonia, UPS, ALDI and Microsoft were all close behind.
The Societal ROI Index records perceptions of a company across three categories: Visible Values (a company’s accountability for its actions and whether or not it speaks out on on key social issues), Civic Minds (how a company behaves toward the community in which it operates as well as how fairly it compensates its employees) and Ethical Stewards (the quality of a company’s leadership and its reputation for maintaining high ethical standards).
According to the survey, Societal ROI scores have several notable effects on the business landscape in which a company operates. Survey respondents said they would be far more likely to recommend companies with higher Societal ROI scores as good places to work. They also indicated that companies ranking high on the index would stand a much better chance of being welcomed into their communities.
In terms of market segments, companies in the grocery and tech sectors tended to earn higher Societal ROI scores, while the energy and banking & investment sectors lagged considerably behind.
At the top of the list of issues that respondents wanted to see companies address were privacy of data (69 percent), access to healthcare (61 percent) and supporting veterans (59 percent). Some current hot-button topics ranked a bit lower, with gun violence cited by 49 percent and immigration by 42 percent.
When it comes to how much impact companies are having on those issues, people didn’t seem to be all that impressed. When asked if companies have made a “very positive impact” on job creation, 24 percent of respondents agreed, while 22 percent said the same as regards supporting veterans. Access to healthcare (18 percent) and privacy of data (16 percent) were further down the list.
Finn Partners and The Harris Poll say they plan to conduct the SROI index annually. For more information, go to www.SocietalROI.com.