Swiss transparency results stagger this year as stakeholder demands rise
In the 16th edition of the Webranking research found that Swiss results line-up with European standards of transparency.
The Swiss edition of Webranking research is conducted by Lundquist in collaboration with Comprend. To read how the individual companies compare, download the whitepaper below. It evaluates the 55 largest listed companies in Switzerland, analysing what these companies communicate on their corporate websites and how they are working to satisfy the needs of their stakeholders and inspire trust.
At face value, this year’s Swiss results may seem like corporate communication and transparency have back tracked in comparison to past years’ overall improving figures. The average score that Swiss companies attained this year is 2.5 points lower (an average of 47.5 points) compared to last year, still slightly higher than the European average of 45.1 points. In fact, however, the Webranking research has set a higher standard of achievement, towards a progressive improvement of European corporate communication standards.
Webranking is firmly based in the needs of the stakeholder – uncovered through a careful evaluation of annual surveys completed by investors, job seekers, and journalists – and for this reason it can be considered a transparency stress test. A score of 50 out of a maximum of 100 is considered to be the threshold at which a company has met an adequate communication standard.
Although the average of the 55 largest Swiss companies included in the study has decreased, the rate of companies passing the test is consistent with previous edition and the failing companies (below 30 points) continue to decrease. This is a clear indication that Swiss standards for corporate communication have not been lowered, the bar has simply been set higher.
Swiss companies have taken giant steps in the last few years to demonstrate their market value. The bar has no been set higher. It is no longer enough to be transparent, but it is fundamental for companies to transmit their strategic vision and substantiate their commitments to be able to inspire more trust with their stakeholders.
Joakim Lundquist, CEO Lundquist
From rankings to ratings
Webranking’s end goal is not to present a ranking of the best and worst companies, but to encourage and a culture of transparency that alters companies’ rapport with their stakeholders. This is precisely why this year we decided to present the results in range of transparency rather a simple numeric ranking, by dividing the companies into classes of performance. Only one company has been awarded the highest of reputations (5 stars), and three others have entered the second tier (4 stars).
Swisscom was the only Swiss company this year to achieve 5-star results (over 80 points out of 100). Three others have received 4 stars (between 70 and 80 points). These include Sika, Sonova, and Givaudan, which are all companies that have often been on the podium. Nestlé and Barry Callebaut are also getting closer to reaching a 4-star rating.
Over 70% of Swiss companies are part of the Europe 500 ranking (the ranking of the 500 largest European companies by market cap). Notwithstanding the majority of Swiss companies are also in the Europe 500 lists, Swiss companies do not stand out particularly. Italian and Nordic companies dominate the list, taking prime positions in the top ten. The German average also stands higher than the Swiss, at about 48.1 points.
Swisscom comes in at 11th place in the Europe 500 list, falling out of the top 10 from last year. Sika is next, standing in 12th position, followed by Sonova in 14th, and Givaudan at 25th. Four other companies are in the top 50: Nestlé in 29th, Barry Callebaut in 43rd, Roche in 44th, and Clariant in 47th.
The bar has been set higher: not only transparency, but the ability to create a convincing narrative for company strategy and commitment.
In many ways, Swiss results are now aligned with European standards and results in the ranking. However, through a more accurate lens is possible to see that they fall behind when it comes to the presentation of a company strategy and investment story, or when it comes to the presentation of their commitment to sustainability and their careers sections.
These are the elements that come into play in the competition for credibility amongst stakeholders, which is at the heart of the new Lundquist research series .trust, which will be published in early 2020. Only companies that have been able to pass the stress test (50 points and above) in Webranking have gained access to our new research series, which this year have amounted to 23 Swiss companies.
We will be releasing the .trust for Swiss listed companies at the beginning of 2020. To take a look at last year’s results for non-listed companies, follow the link on the right.
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