For the second consecutive year, this survey, based on corporate governance practices, ranks the world’s largest companies according to how well they conform to socially responsible business practices.

Britain’s Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile-phone operator, edged out last year’s leader, BP. “What we’ve tried to do is embed CSR,” says Charlotte Grezo, the company’s director for corporate responsibility.” That has helped put good ideas into practice, Grezo says. She noted their M-PESA program in Kenya, which enables people to do banking with their mobile phones, as well as the fact that Vodafone has made its networks more accessible to emergency workers and added a content-filtering system because customers said they were worried about their kids.

There were four newcomers in the top ten this year, including French water companies and WBCSD members Suez (No. 5) and Veolia (No. 8). This can be partly explained by changes in methodology: Companies that did well last year had to keep improving – further developing management systems or engaging with a broader array of stakeholders – to maintain their ranking. The ratings this year also penalized companies that didn’t address non-financial issues at the core of their business.

Oil companies as a group rated lower this year. The ten companies in the petroleum-refining sector had an overall rating of 30, down from 45 last year, making it the only one of the five sectors that fell.

Once again, European companies outperformed their counterparts in the US and Asia. The top 11 companies on the list are headquartered in Europe, where corporate social responsibility is the norm and CSR reporting is required for a company to list on some stock exchanges. The top US company is WBCSD member General Motors (No. 12); it moved ahead of WBCSD member Ford , which dropped ten places to number 16.

The most improved company this year was WBCSD member Volkswagen, which jumped from No. 56 to No. 19 after releasing its first comprehensive CSR report.


Rank   

 


Company

 

1
Vodafone
2
BP
3
Royal Dutch Shell
4
√Člectricit√© de France
5
Suez
8
Veolia
Environnement
12

Tokyo
Electric Power
13

General Motors
14

General Electric
16

Ford Motor
18


International Business
Machines

19


Volkswagen
22

Hewlett-Packard
23

Toyota Motor
25

E.ON
26

ING Group
30

Chevron
34

ConocoPhillips
35

Hitachi
39

Deutsche Bank
43

Allianz
44

Honda Motor
46

Samsung Electronics
47

Nippon
Telegraph & Telephone
48

Nissan Motor
51

Gazprom
57

Sinopec