The survey, ‘Corporate Reputation Watch (China)’, found that 87 per cent of CEOs believe CSR initiatives are a significant contribution to a firm’s corporate reputation.
According to Andy Pharoah, UK corporate affairs head at survey sponsor Hill &Knowlton, just 40 per cent of European CEOs interviewed in previous surveys gave a similar answer.
The survey also found that in China CEOs see themselves as the figureheads of CSR, with three quarters of those polled saying that a firm’s boss was the guardian of its reputation. This contrasts with a previous survey by H&K of European CEOs, where just 44 per saw themselves in that way.
One reason that CEOs in China have such a hands-on approach to reputation and CSR may be a lack of faith in the ability of company directors. Just 28 per cent of those surveyed said their boards of directors were doing a good job. Pharoah said this is far behind Europe, where 72 per cent of CEOs had faith in the work of directors.
Commenting on the survey, H&K chairman and CEO Paul Taaffe said Chinese CEOs were ‘savvy marketers of their firms and of their products and recognise that the customer is king’.
Pharoah added that in China, CSR is often seen in terms of charitable donations, and not community initiatives as in Europe.