CRO 100 and Other Rankings – Useful?

The 2010 “100 Best Corporate Citizens” ranking (PDF)  is now out, and it’s received its fair share of attention this week. Scan Twitter using “100 best corporate citizens“ and you find shout-outs and congratulations from consumers, industry groups, and employees of listed companies. 

The ranking is based on 360 data points of publicly-available information in the seven categories of Environment, Climate Change, Human Rights, Philanthropy, Employee Relations, Financial Performance, and Governance. In many minds, this list is a big deal. For one, a CEO-level survey conducted by PRWeek and Burson Marsteller in 2008 found that the “100 Best Corporate Citizens” is the 3rd-most influential list for companies, behind only Fortune’s “Most Admired Companies” and “100 Best Companies to Work For.” 

Jay Whitehead, publisher of Corporate Responsibility Magazine, which manages the ranking, says company stakeholders watch the 100 Best Corporate Citizens List closely. “Making the list is worth millions or even billions in increased shareholder and brand value,” claims Whitehead. And, according to the Corporate Responsibility Officers Association, its staff has begun notifying members of Congress about companies in their districts that are included on the 2010 list. 

It seems that the nature of the “100 Best” list can help ranked companies get their house in order. According to Suzanne Fallender, Director of CSR Strategy and Communications for Intel, “The key thing this particular rating rewards is transparency since every data point needs to be public in order to get credit. This is useful in getting companies to improve their CSR/sustainability reporting, which in turn drives internal performance on CSR.” Her comment is part of a larger conversation that has been taking place online all week.  

Do corporate rankings, like the 100 Best Corporate Citizens, matter to your company? Are they useful to your stakeholders? Let us know what you think.