On this blog recently I criticised catch-all CR ranking systems.
The latest in a crowded, mostly North American, marketplace for these things is from CRD Analytics, which “screens and ranks companies based on over 150 quantitative financial, environmental and social performance indicators”.
Most of the companies at the top of the rankings are financial institutions and pharmaceutical companies.
Is it any coincidence that these sectors are both low carbon and low direct impact in terms of their corporate operations?
I suggest that comparing banks and pharma companies, or even miners and oil companies, is nonsensical.
We would not, after all, compare our dentist with the emergency room at our local hospital or our plumber with our electrician.
Why do some firms think such comparisons are credible?
Money is of course one answer. Everyone that does this has a business to run, and companies must pay to get information on themselves and competitors.
But are these apples and oranges rankings useful? Do they help companies embed sustainability and improve performance?
My suggestion is that issue specific comparisons are much more helpful.
But they also suffer from serious limitations. How might one compare a supermarket in the US with one in Thailand, for example, and to what end?
But isn’t it true that really, if we want true benchmarking, companies should best look at their own historical performance, rather than their peers and companies outside their sector?
Many senior and experienced heads of CR and sustainability I have met have agreed with this.
My question to you is: “Have I missed something here?”
I’d be interested in your views.
(You can read Elaine Cohen’s comments on my original post at the bottom here)