The Swiss make steady progress in a European context
Companies’ relationships with key stakeholders are changing, as both investors and the general public are becoming more concerned with how companies are managed and their stance on key issues. Webranking provides the lens through which companies can measure on how well they are responding to this evolution of stakeholder expectations. In Switzerland’s case, there are relatively few companies that go above and beyond in terms of meeting stakeholder needs, with the bulk of the companies included in the research placing just around the European average of 45.7. In general, they understand and respond well to the needs of different stakeholder groups (to some better than others), though it does not appear to be the focus of their strategy for digital communications.
What we saw this year was that Swiss companies made notable improvements in comparison to the other companies included in the Europe 500 research. The annual study evaluates the 500 largest European companies per market capitalization taken from the Stoxx Europe 600 index.
Ten years ago, only four Swiss companies were included in the top 20, whereas this year that number has been reduced to three, of which 2 even make it into the top 10. The results of the European study have been published in the Italian weekly Economia del Corriere della Sera. Find out more about the performance of the European companies here.
Impressive number of Swiss companies included in the top 500
The best Swiss performers this year were Swisscom (79.2), Sika (77.7), Sonova (76.9), Barry Callebaut (63.7), and Roche (62.3). Of these, all of them managed to make it into the top 50, while Swisscom (7) and Sika (10) placed among the top ten most transparent companies in Europe for stakeholder communications. These companies respond well to the changing needs of their stakeholders, setting the bar high for Swiss companies, though the rest struggle to keep pace.
Givaudan (53) Nestle (55) Zurich Insurance Group (61), and Swiss Life (87) find their way into the top 100 companies in Europe, a long way away from Swisscom and Sika in the top ten.
Lots of companies included, though few top performers
Switzerland has only one company that makes it into the top twenty most improved companies, representative of the fact that few companies are making great strides in improving their stakeholder communications while many others remain static. Gaining an additional 12.6 points to its total score, Dufry is the most improved Swiss company. Following Dufry, the other top Swiss improvers are Partners Group with an increase of 9.7 points, Sonova with 8.8 points, Swisscom with 6.6 points, and Givaudan increasing by 6.2 points. On average, Swiss companies were only able to increase their total scores this year by 1.6 points. This is worrisome, as the European average has improved by 3 points, meaning that Switzerland risks being left behind.
Year on year, the performance of Swiss companies is quite consistent, with many companies doing well, falling just around the country average, and relatively few companies that exceed expectations or lag behind. In comparison to their European cohorts however, the Swiss performance is quite mixed.
The Swiss average score falls below the European average in five sections of the research: Homepage, Press, Investor Relations, Governance, and Features and functionalities. Though when it comes to the About us, Reporting, The Share, Sustainability, and Careers sections, the Swiss either keep par or supersede their European cohorts.
Comparison between Swiss and total European performance in the Webranking Europe 500