A survey of 800 CEOs across Europe and North America reveals 50 per cent of UK bosses see an increase in sales as a key effect of improved corporate reputation.
The questionnaire, conducted by Harris Interactive for Hill & Knowlton, also shows 40 per cent of UK CEOs link CSR to sales performance, listing it as the main indicator of successful social reporting.
But the sentiments were not echoed in the US where CEOs rank staff recruitment and retention as the most important business objective of CSR.
The results of the study, entitled Corporate Reputation Watch 2002, reflect an overall increase on the importance placed on corporate reputation.
And up to 40 per cent of the CEOs quizzed said they were worried about unethical corporate behaviour affecting their company's reputation.
H&K director of the European corporate comms unit Andy Laurence said: 'Corporate reputation is becoming an ever more important tool in the CEO's armoury and they are acknowledging the simple equation that a good reputation equals sales.'