Companies may be under pressure from regulators and consumers to be more socially responsible, but now a new Responsible Competitiveness Index (RCI) demonstrates the link between the state of corporate responsibility and national
The RCI forms part of a report, Responsible Competitiveness: Reshaping Global Markets Through Responsible Business Practices, produced by international think tank Accountability and launched in December in Warsaw, Poland. The index was compiled from data pertaining to corporate responsibility in more than 80 countries, including criteria such as corruption, civic freedom, environmental management and corporate governance. This data was then combined with the World Economic Forums (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) to produce the RCI, which produced some interesting results.
When Accountabilitys index was combined with the WEFs listing, some countries actually saw their ranking fall. For example, the US, which is ranked second on the WEFs competitiveness list, is ranked only sixth on Accountabilitys index, which also takes into account social responsibility. Other countries, including Germany, Portugal, Greece and Hungary, also saw declines in their rankings. China, however, which is ranked 38 on the WEFs list, was ranked 40 on Accountabilitys RCI. Once corporate responsibility was taken into consideration, most of Europe moved up the competitiveness ladder, with the Nordic countries dominating the top of the list.
This report has significant implications for Europe and especially for its ambitions to become the worlds most successful knowledge-driven economy, as espoused in the Lisbon agenda, says Simon Zadek, CEO of Accountability. Zadek says that the RCI demonstrates that corporate responsibility and social partnership are far from being a drag on competitiveness and, in fact, can drive it. He anticipates that China and Eastern Europe will take a more proactive approach to responsible business as they move into higher-value markets and seek to differentiate themselves.