Friday, October 23, 2009, 3:03 PM

Top ten brands for corporate social responsibility

Many factors make up a corporate reputation - customer service, shareholder value, and employee morale to name a few. A new study from the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship aims to rank those companies that have earned the strongest reputations in the area of ethics, citizenship and workplace practices. Here are your top ten:

1. Walt Disney Company
2. Microsoft
3. Google
4. Honda
5. Johnson & Johnson
6. PepsiCo.
7. General Mills
8. Kraft Foods
9. Campbell Soup Company
10. FedEx

Notably absent from the list are any financial institutions, as they seek to rebuild trust with the public in the wake of the financial crisis. To view the complete list and get background on the center's methodology, click here.

The Center also notes some important trends:

  • Despite upheaval in the economy, a majority of U.S. companies are not making major changes in their corporate citizenship practices. Of those who made changes 38% reduced philanthropy/giving, 27% increased layoffs, and 19% reduced R&D for sustainable products.

  • Most U.S. senior executives believe business should be more involved than it is today in addressing major public issues including health care, product safety, education, and climate change. Surveyed in June, just as the national debate on health care began to intensify, some 65 percent said business should increase its involvement in this issue.

  • Reputation was cited by 70% as a driver for corporate citizenship, tied for the top spot with “it fits our company traditions and values.”

The fact that executives increasingly want to help shape public policy underscores the importance of building coalitions of like-minded organizations. Without them, it's very difficult to exert influence on customers, voters, and government decision-makers.

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