The companies are ranked into quintiles – with the companies in each quintile presented alphabetically. Companies in the top quintile are: 3M; AstraZeneca; Aviva; BAA; BP; BT Group; Carillion; Dow Chemical Company; ISIS; J Sainsbury; Marks & Spencer; mm02; National Grid Transco; Rio Tinto; Safeway; ScottishPower; Shell International; Tesco; Unilever; Waste Recycling Group; Co-operative Bank; Co-operative Insurance Society; Innogy Holdings; Lafarge Cement UK; Vivendi Water.

Stephen Timms, Minister for Corporate Social Responsibility, welcomed the Index saying: “Corporate Social Responsibility has a vital role to play in our society. It’s living proof that economic and social goals do not have to be in conflict. And it can often address some of the toughest challenges our society faces.

I am delighted to see the level of participation in the first Corporate Responsibility Index. Companies in the UK are beginning to understand the business benefits of socially responsible behaviour. However, more needs to be done to raise awareness and trust around these activities. I look forward to seeing many more companies take part next year.”