NEW YORK, Nov. 9, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Harris Poll, in partnership with Finn Partners, unveiled the Societal Return on Investment (SROI) Index, a newly formalized index designed to measure a company's corporate reputation for social good. It is the first-ever metric to score and rank 100 of the most visible companies according to the public's perception of their impact on society. The model was released along with new survey data that found a majority of Americans do not believe companies are making a very positive impact on key social issues.
"In today's world, companies are finding themselves being judged against a new yardstick by investors, employees, policymakers and the public when it comes to social good," said Wendy Salomon, managing director of corporate reputation, The Harris Poll. "This new metric provides business leaders with an unprecedented read on what aspects of their social good performance might be most helpful or harmful to their growth," she added.
The Societal ROI Index brings together elements of leadership, citizenship and real-world engagement to create a holistic assessment, with insights into perception across many demographics by age, gender, region, income and party affiliation. The model, which can be applied to any company, was developed to show the causal relationship between how a company performs in these areas and how they may influence business outcomes.
"Our new data shows that the public has a definite opinion about what issues they feel companies should address and the social impact bar has been set high," said Amy Terpeluk, senior partner in the CSR & Social Impact practice, Finn Partners. "Societal ROI is an opportunity to provide companies with a new diagnostic tool to better track their social good activities and inform their business strategies in a meaningful and measurable way."
The Inaugural 2018 Societal ROI Index: Top Performers and Top Social Issues
As part of the inaugural 2018 Societal ROI Index, Harris Poll and Finn Partners released the list of the top 20 companies and the top social issues that Americans believe companies should be addressing. The annual social issues survey will provide context for the SROI index with Americans' priority issues for companies to address and the public's perception of the impact companies are making. Salomon and Terpeluk previewed the new model and the social issues findings at the 3BL Forum on Brands Taking Stands, which brought together major business, policy and NGO leaders to share insights and advance corporate social responsibility and philanthropy efforts to solve the most pressing challenges in society.
Table 1: Top 20 Performers on SROI Index (in alphabetical order)
The 2018 survey revealed that data privacy is the number one issue that Americans (65%) believe companies should be addressing, followed by access to healthcare (61%), supporting veterans (59%), education (56%) and job creation (56%). However, fewer Americans hold companies accountable for solving equality, civil rights and social justice issues with only 30% of Americans believing companies should be addressing LGBTQ Rights, followed by drug addiction (41%), climate change (44%) and gender equality (46%). More importantly, less than one in five Americans believe companies are making a very positive impact on pressing social issues from job creation to drug addiction.
Table 2: Snapshot of Social Issue Ranking
Top Issues and Bottom Issues
Americans said it was very important for companies to work to truly make a positive difference on these issues
Americans said companies were making a very positive impact on these issues
Social Issues Survey Methodology The Harris Poll conducted a survey to identify what issues Americans thought companies should be addressing and if they were making a positive impact. The survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll from July 10-12, 2018 among 2,012 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The sample was nationally representative. This online survey is not based on a probability sample, and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For the complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, contact [email protected].
Societal ROI Index Methodology The Societal ROI survey was conducted online in English and took place among the general public, adults 18+. Respondents were randomly assigned to rate two of the companies with which they are "very" or "somewhat" familiar. After the first company rating was completed, the respondent was then asked to rate the second company. Each interview lasted approximately 20 minutes. This year's rating interviews took place online between December 11th and January 12th, 2018 among 25,800 U.S. adults to obtain an average of approximately 300 ratings per company. Data informing the 2018 scores were collected as part of Harris Poll's 2018 Reputation Quotient. The SROI model was then developed to show the causal relationship between how a company performs on selected attributes and common business outcomes.
About Harris Insights and Analytics The Harris Poll is one of the longest-running surveys in the U.S. tracking public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963 that is now part of Harris Insights Analytics, a global consulting and market research firm that strives to reveal the authentic values of modern society to inspire leaders to create a better tomorrow. We work with clients in three primary areas; building twenty-first- century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. Our mission is to provide insights and advisory to help leaders make the best decisions possible. To learn more, please visit theharrispoll.com.
About Finn Partners, Inc. Founded in late 2011 on the core principles of innovation and collaborative partnership, Finn Partners has more than tripled in size in six years, becoming one of the fastest growing independent public relations agencies in the world. The full-service marketing and communications company's record setting pace is a result of organic growth and integrating new companies and new people into the Finn Partners world through a common philosophy. With more than 600 professionals, Finn Partners provides its clients with global access and capabilities in the U.S., Europe and Asia, in addition to PROI Worldwide. Headquartered in New York, Finn Partners' other offices are located in: Chicago, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Frankfurt, Jerusalem, London, Los Angeles, Munich, Nashville, Paris, Portland, San Francisco, Shanghai, Singapore and Washington D.C. Find us at finnpartners.com and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @finnpartners.