4 Different Brand Ranking Systems Show Common Ties to Perceived Sustainability Performance

Jun 2, 2015 2:15 PM ET

As previously seen on the CSRHub blog

By Jennifer Saunders and Bahar Gidwani

Many aspects of a company’s performance affect its brand value. Marketing spend, distribution strength, and product quality all have proven effects. This study indicates that a company’s perceived sustainability performance may be another important factor.

In 2013, CSRHub showed that its measures of perceived corporate sustainability performance had a 28% correlation with Brand Finance’s Brand Strength Indicator (BSI). CSRHub recently published an update that showed this correlation continues to persist for financial companies. This study extends our analysis to include three other independent brand ranking systems:

  • RepTrak Pulse Score.  The Reputation Institute’s RepTrak model examines the relationship between the emotional connection, or “Pulse” score, a “measure of the degree of Admiration, Trust, Good Feeling and Overall Esteem that a company stakeholder holds.”
  • Interbrand’s Best Global Brands list.  Interbrand provides an analysis and picture of how your brand is contributing to business results today. Interbrand publishes annually a “Best Global Brands” list of the 100 brands it considers most powerful.
  • CoreBrand’s CBI.  Tenet Partners’ CoreBrand Analytics group  generates an annual Corporate Branding Index (CBI) that measures and quantifies the impact of investment in the corporate brand and how brands perform against peers both across and within industries.

We compared data from these sources with CSRHub ratings and brand strength data from our long time data source in the branding area, Brand Finance. CSRHub provides sustainability information on more than 14,000 companies in 127 countries. CSRHub’s ratings and metrics are drawn from more than 380 sustainability data sources.

Our research found that the scores from all four leading brand ranking systems correlated with at least one of CSRHub’s sustainability measures. Further, we found consistent results across the four systems that may help brand managers better understand how to coordinate with and support their company’s sustainability programs. In particular, we found a positive correlation between brand and Compensation & Benefits and Environment Policy & Reporting strength. Success in these areas seems tied to better brand rankings.


To see the complete details and next steps, download the full report here.

About the Authors

Jennifer Saunders holds a degree in chemical engineering from Melbourne University, a postgraduate diploma in management from the Melbourne Business School, and certificates in sustainability reporting and stakeholder networks approaches to socio-political risk. She worked for design and manufacturing multinationals for 15 years. Her main focus was on engaging cross-functionally to collect and analyse design performance data, report on sustainability metrics, optimize processes and manage supply chain projects. She recently re-located from Australia to the Pacific Northwest where she has further fostered her career to focus on sustainability working with CSRHub.

Bahar Gidwani is CEO and Co-founder of CSRHub.  He has built and run large technology-based businesses for many years. Bahar holds a CFA, worked on Wall Street with Kidder, Peabody, and with McKinsey & Co. Bahar has consulted to a number of major companies and currently serves on the board of several software and Web companies. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree in physics and astronomy. Bahar is a member of the SASB Advisory Board.  He plays bridge, races sailboats, and is based in New York City.

About CSRHub

CSRHub provides access to the world’s largest corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information.  It covers over 14,000 companies from 135 industries in 127 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 380 data sources, CSRHub has created a broad, consistent rating system and a searchable database that links millions of rating elements back to their source. Managers, researchers and activists use CSRHub to benchmark company performance, learn how stakeholders evaluate company CSR practices, and seek ways to improve corporate sustainability performance.