Good corporate citizenship found to boost profits

Four in 10 Americans say they’re more likely to do business with a company that is a “good corporate citizen,” but only one in four believes U.S. companies are doing a good job of being socially responsible, a new study says.

GolinHarris Research of Chicago conducted the online survey of 3,500 Americans to gauge their opinions of the importance and effects of corporate citizenship.

Survey respondents say good corporate citizenship leads them to try a company’s goods, builds their trust in the company, improves the company’s reputation in their view, leads them to recommend the company to friends, and makes them more willing to have the company in their community.

GolinHarris’ Corporate Citizenship Index uses survey results to rank companies and brands and found Johnson & Johnson in the lead, followed by Ben & Jerry’s in second, and Walt Disney and Whole Foods tied for third.

More than eight in 10 Americans says a company’s value and how it treats employees defines good corporate citizenship, the study says.

A similar number believe ethical business practices are important, three in four say paying extra attention to safety and reliability of products is critical, and about six in 10 say giving a share of profits to benefit others is important.

Americans believe the best way to learn about a company’s citizenship performance is through beneficiaries of companies’ generosity, through media coverage, and through partnerships with nonprofits or government groups, the study says.

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