The CSR audit by Italian consultancy Lundquist found that, in general, the online CSR communications of British firms were superior to those of firms in the US, Asia and Rest of Europe categories.
The CSR Online Awards ‘Global Leaders’ is in its second year and examines 91 members of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index on how their corporate websites are used as a platform for CSR communication. Each website was assessed using a set of 77 evaluation criteria.
Among the 15 British companies included in the classification, Kingfisher reached 7th position, followed by Xstrata in 9th and GSK in joint 10th.
Weaker performances were registered by British American Tobacco, Vodafone, Barclays, HSBC and Diageo, which the study claimed failed to provide comprehensive environmental, social and governance information online supported by ongoing engagement and interactivity.
Topping the list outright was Italian oil firm Eni. Notably Nestlé climbed 41 places to take second place jointly with Hewlett Packard.
The report noted: ‘Many companies are locked into a once-a-year reporting mentality, failing to keep stakeholders updated in an engaging and dynamic manner.’
It found that corporations are failing to keep pace with the ‘desire of a sceptical audience’ for open dialogue and engagement – whether by responding to emails or understanding the impact of social media.
‘Banking failures and oil spills have made people increasingly suspicious when they hear companies talk about sustainability or responsibility,’ said James Osborne, head of CSR communications at Lundquist. ‘But many companies don’t seem to be willing to engage on these issues using the most dynamic and open medium they have – the internet.’
An awards ceremony for the winners will be held on 21 October in Milan, in conjunction with the Lundquist 2nd Global Seminar on Online CSR Communications.