The digital world has created the perfect context in which disinformation and fake news can thrive. In times like these, major organizations must exploit their corporate websites to convey their key messages and show credibility.
The results of the 26th edition of Webranking, Europe’s leading corporate transparency survey that assesses the digital channels of the largest listed companies, reveal that many companies are lagging when it comes to basic corporate transparency. In an era where the credibility of social media platforms and news outlets are being put to the test, the corporate website reasserts its position as the primary platform for guaranteeing a credible and trustworthy flow of information.
The 2022-2023 edition of Webranking EU500 includes 45 Swiss companies and shows mixed results, both from a European perspective as well as among Swiss players. While two Swiss companies, Swisscom and Givaudan, maintain their positions in the European top 10, showing exemplary levels of corporate transparency, over half of the remaining Swiss organizations lose scores compared to the previous year.
The 2022-2023 results in Switzerland
Swisscom (86.9) is first in Switzerland and 5th in the EU500 ranking. Givaudan (82.9) reaches 7th place (2nd in Switzerland) and Barry Callebaut (67.9) 24th (3rd in Switzerland). Ams OSRAM is Switzerland’s best improver, gaining 148 positions (+9.8 points) in the European ranking. Both Straumann and SIG Combibloc Group gain over 100 positions but maintain scores under 50 points which is the threshold for a fair level of transparency.
The average score of Swiss companies in this year’s sample has decreased by 1.4 points, from 45.6 in 2021 to 44.2. These figures remain just 0.8 points higher than the European average of 44.
For Swiss companies, some of the biggest gaps are related to the concreteness of information. For instance, just 22% of Swiss companies present concrete actions towards meeting the business strategy. Furthermore, just 24% provide a basic explanation of megatrends or market expectations. This is a missed opportunity for organisations to explain the wider context in which they operate and build a compelling narrative.
Further gaps emerge when it comes to communicating with jobseekers. Indeed, 62% of the companies offer a clear policy or approach to diversity and inclusion, however, most lack concreteness, with just 16% back information up with data on diversity in numbers.
All eyes are on big players when it comes to sustainability and ESG commitments. While a good 82% of companies provide a description of their sustainability strategy and 69% of companies connect the sustainability strategy to the business strategy, only 40% present data for at least one environmental indicator and just 29% when it comes to social sustainability indicators.
- The Energy Sector (ex-Oil and Gas) holds its position at the top of the European ranking, demonstrating a constant commitment to transparency with companies’ scores increasing at a constant rate since 2020.
- As in previous years, the Basic Resources, Chemicals and Telecommunications sectors are also high up in the rankings, with the latter two increasing their average score by 3.4 and 1.5 respectively compared to 2020.
- The Chemicals and Telecommunications sectors are now among the top 10 sectors of the ranking, helped by the high-scoring Swiss leaders, Givaudan and Swisscom.
- The Utilities sector shows a slight but steady decline, despite Webranking leader Terna having reached number one for the past few years. The average performance is two points lower than in 2020.
- Similarly to the Utilities sector, the Automobiles and Parts, and Consumer Products and Services underperform compared to previous years, losing on average three points over the last three years and scoring below the European average.
- The least performing sectors are Retail, Media, and Travel and Leisure.
26th European edition
500 companies included in Europe
45 Swiss companies included in the sample
318 questionnaire responses from analysts, journalists, jobseekers
Webranking Europe 500
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Transparency is no longer optional
Joakim Lundquist, CEO of Lundquist, a strategic communication and sustainability consultancy that carries out the research in Switzerland, Austria and Italy, notes that “until recently, companies showed great improvements in terms of corporate transparency, from sustainability disclosures to information aimed at jobseekers or investors. Unfortunately, over the past two years, we have witnessed a growing reluctance to disclose basic information in a transparent manner, with companies often hiding relevant information within reports or presentations or not providing the information at all.”
This year’s results clearly reflect a greater need for disclosure. In practice, this means presenting objectives, sharing results, and responding to urgent issues that may affect the company, directly or indirectly.
Credibility begins with a commitment to transparency, which should be part of a greater cultural transformation that involves all stakeholders. The Lundquist .trust research, which builds on Webranking, helps companies that demonstrate excellent levels of transparency to push towards new frontiers of credibility, transforming transparency into a trust.