What price reputation?

Dublin PR firm declines to publish names of firms on bottom of its CSR league table

Lidl was one of the top five firms in the CSR survey, but who was at the bottom? Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Reputations matter, so claims The Reputations Agency, as the name suggests. However, the Dublin-based PR firm yesterday declined to publish the full list of 50 firms and organisations on its latest corporate social responsibility (CSR) league table.

The firm conducted quite an extensive survey to rate the most visible Irish brands on how well they were doing in terms of acting responsibly towards their communities and the environment.

The exercise was no doubt intended to showcase the importance of CSR in the age of social media when a firm’s reputation can be gutted with clinical efficiency on the basis of single tweet.

And not to name and shame the laggards in the market, those who view CSR as the vegetarian option in a steakhouse, an obligatory but largely pointless exercise.


Sticky position

Equally no PR firm wants to finds itself in the sticky position of having to point out the failings of potential clients, not publicly at least.

So to save the blushes of those CSR refuseniks lurking at the bottom of its list, The Reputations Agency published just the top five firms – Bord Bia, Kerry Group, Google, An Post and Lidl – and kudos to them.

When The Irish Times went looking for the others, it was furnished with an extended list, which included the top 20 firms, but politely denied a glimpse at those who trailed in last.

"Earning a strong reputation for corporate social responsibility brings both societal and business performance benefits but is a challenge to many organisations who invest considerably but simply don't get the cut through that they deserve," The Reputations Agency's managing director Niamh Boyle said.

It remains to be seen if those on the bottom of the agency’s CSR league table are simply failing to get “the cut through” or simply failing. Thanks to The Reputations Agency, their reputations remain intact.