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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability

Decision Makers Prefer Global Brands for Sustainability Services

A global survey of 250 heads of sustainability conducted by independent analyst firm Verdantix finds that, in 2012, the highest brand preference for sustainability consulting was achieved by Ernst & Young, for sustainability assurance by KPMG, for sustainability software by Microsoft and in the not-for-profit category by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). The survey is based on interviews with the most senior sustainability decision-makers in firms with annual revenues greater than $250 million, across 21 industries in 13 countries.

“Global firms and entrepreneurial ventures are battling it out in the sustainability market to develop brand recognition in multiple countries and achieve brand preference over competitors” commented Patty Satkiewicz, Verdantix Industry Analyst and author of the report. “The Big Four accounting firms – Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PwC – have secured the strongest brand preference in both the sustainability consulting and sustainability assurance markets. Since this is a market which requires deep pockets, the Big Four’s dominance already looks ominous for their competitors.”

The study, Verdantix Global Sustainability Survey: Brands, covers brand recognition and brand preference in the sustainability consulting, assurance, software and not-for-profit categories. Key findings in each category:

  • In sustainability consulting Ernst & Young leads with a brand preference score of 39%, relative to 37% for KPMG, 33% for Deloitte and 30% for PwC. Among the management consulting firms, Accenture achieved a score of 22% beating McKinsey on 21% and Bain on 15%.
  • KPMG achieved the highest brand preference score in the sustainability assurance market with 36%, just ahead of Ernst & Young with 35% of survey respondents indicating a positive brand perception. Bureau Veritas reached 22%, the highest brand preference for a supplier outside of the Big Four.
  • In the software category, Microsoft leads global brand preference with heads of sustainability, as a provider of software for sustainability management with a score of 39%. SAP is close behind with 38% followed by Oracle and IBM. Specialist software firms CarbonSystems and Credit360 both achieved the highest brand preference score of 16%.
  • Among the not for profits, CDP and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) top the brand preference list among 250 heads of sustainability scoring 57% and 61% respectively. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reached a brand preference score of 48% and the UN Environment Program 44%.

“The Big Four’s global scale and their willingness to make strategic investments have enabled them to out-muscle management consultancies in multiple markets” commented David Metcalfe, Verdantix CEO. “Even in the assurance market, the Big Four now have higher brand awareness than the global environmental certification players like DNV, SGS and URS Corporation. The fact that most not-for-profits in the sustainability sector still have more brand recognition than global software firms like Oracle reflects the step change that corporate marketing departments need to make to engage with newly appointed sustainability leaders.”

Views: 611

Comment by Brad Ewing on January 16, 2013 at 1:40pm

Interesting Stats. Surprised to see Microsoft up there. They rate well on ESG but not so well with ESGC.

source: thomson reuters

Comment by Malini Mehra on January 25, 2013 at 10:07am

Interesting piece. But why does CDM top GRI in the non-profit category if it scored 57% to GRI's 61%? ... A typo?

Comment by Dan Johnson on January 29, 2013 at 8:49pm

at malini, no typo....

Comment by Jyoti Sharma on January 30, 2013 at 12:17am

Isn't this interesting that everyone keeps missing the whole point. This is so typical of the coorporate world - go after the glitz. It makes me really sad that CSR has just become another fashionable thing to do. Corporations do not necessarily believe in the concepts of CSR but consider it a marketing tool, a buzz.... So they get sold a bag of goods by other coorporations with deep pockets and marketing dollars!! At least, when "sustainability" and "social responsibility" was struggling, the people involved were the ones who really cared and believed in the concepts.

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