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Corporate citizens – Few get high marks

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Most Americans consider corporate citizenship when deciding whether to invest or buy, but few give companies high marks, a new survey says.

Seventy-nine percent of Americans take corporate citizenship into account in deciding whether to buy a particular company’s product, with 36 percent considering it an important factor, says the online survey, conducted by Hill and Knowlton through Harris Interactive.

Seventy-one percent consider corporate citizenship in deciding on investments, with 12 percent saying they would buy the stock of socially responsible companies – even if it meant accepting lower financial returns.

Yet less than 2 percent of those responding to the survey – conducted online with 2,594 adult Americans – perceive U.S. firms as excellent corporate citizens.

Just over 25 percent rate firms “above average,” and just over half say U.S. firms do a below-average job of performing as good corporate citizens.

Three-fourths of respondents believe companies participate in charitable work because of a desire to get good publicity, and fewer than one-fourth believe companies donate time and money because they are truly committed to charitable causes.

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