Risk & Compliance

Do Companies Do Good Well?

Think your company is a good corporate citizen? Your customers may not agree.
Scott LeibsJuly 24, 2007

Large global companies are doing a fine job of serving the public good —
according to executives at those companies, anyway. Consumers are much less
impressed, and likely to express their displeasure by avoiding the products and services
of companies they feel come up short.

McKinsey & Co. surveyed consumers and executives internationally and found a substantial perception gap between the two regarding how successfully companies address a range of issues such as job creation, philanthropy,
pollution, and other sociopolitical concerns. Both groups strongly agreed that companies
should balance the needs of shareholders against the needs of the broader public
good; 68 percent of executives believe companies do achieve that balance, but only 48
percent of consumers concur. The gap was even larger when looking at North America
alone (see below).

That gap may be explained in part by where respondents choose
to look: for consumers, the environment is the top issue, followed by pensions/retirement
benefits. Executives rank the environment third, behind job losses/offshoring and
data security/privacy (pensions/retirement benefits rank fifth).

Executives Consumers
Companies must balance obligations to shareholders with obligations to the public good. 84% 89%
Contribution to the public good by large global companies is “generally” or “somewhat” positive.* 75% 40%
The environment ranks as a top issue for companies over the next five years. 31% 47%
*North America only