The public is wary of the state of corporate citizenship, according to a national survey by Golin Harris.
Only 25% of 2,770 American respondents to the survey thought business corporate citizenship is heading in the right direction, while 44% said it is heading in the wrong direction.
These marks were worse than last year's 29% and 41%, respectively.
"As business moves down the road to economic recovery, Americans are expecting companies to meet and exceed their corporate citizenship obligations," Fred Cook, president and CEO of Golin Harris, said in a statement. "Companies that do so will be rewarded in both the media and the marketplace."
Consumers also expressed the importance of corporate citizenship on their purchasing habits, as 52% of respondents said they were likely to start or increase their dealings with a business due to corporate citizenship. This was 9 points higher than last year.
The respondents said a positive stance on the environment is the most important corporate-citizenship driver. Education, energy conservation, human rights, and consumer rights followed, in that order.
Golin Harris also released its rankings of 75 blue chip companies and brands, based on its corporate citizenship index, which assigns a numerical value for a range of corporate-citizenship drivers. McDonald's topped the list, besting last year's winner, Ben & Jerry's, which fell to second.
Johnson & Johnson, Target, and the United States Parcel Service rounded out that top five.
The of 2,770 online interviews were conducted in June 2004, with participant demographics weighted and balanced to provide a representative sample and to conform to the 2002 US census statistics. The margin of error was +/- 3%.
The results were released in a report titled Doing Well by Doing Good 2004: The Trajectory of Corporate Citizenship and American Business. The report was designed by Golin Harris research and fielded through online market-research firm InsightExpress.