Apple Talks Better Sustainability Than It Delivers

Brandlogic’s second annual Sustainability Leadership Report for 2012 ranks the sustainability perofrmance of 100 prominent global companies, assigning them to one of four Brandlogic Sustainability IQ Matrix categories, each with its own distinct implications for the business: Leaders, Challengers, Promoters and Laggards – with Apple in the the promoter vanguard.

Brandlogic’s Matrix Quadrants are defined as:

Companies with above average real and perceived performance need to keep raising their game to stay ahead of peers and reap the available financial and reputational gains from their performance.

Companies whose real ESG performance is above average and substantially ahead of their perceived performance may have opportunities to secure unrealized ROI from investments in communications and brand positioning.

Companies with high perceived performance relative to their actual ESG performance may be putting significant value at risk if investments to improve real performance are not made.

ompanies below the mean on both dimensions are vulnerable to erosion of market position as competitors raise the bar for acceptable performance.

The report notes that in the Computers/ IT services sector, IBM remains a Leader and received the highest Sustainability Perception Score (SPS) this year at 73.8 points on a scale of 0 – 100. the 14 companies included in both years, only three increased their SPS, while all increased their real performance.

HP increased its real performance but fell below the mean on perception, pulling it from Leader to Challenger. Dell enters the study as a Leader with real performance second only to IBM. Apple received the highest perception score of all companies (55.6 points), but Brandlogic says its real performance continues to lag the SRS mean.

In software: Microsoft and SAP (joining the study this year) are both Leaders, while in telecom equipment Nokia remains in the Leaders quadrant despite lower perceived performance putting its SPS rating just above the mean, and Brandlogic notes that is a cross category comparison, it is impossible not to mention Apple in a telecom context, with Nokia’s SRS rating at 66.4 points being well above Apple’s at 45.9 points, yet Apple’s SPS rating outstrips Nokia’s at 55.6 points versus 44.7 points.

Brandlogics’ quantitative study is the only one of its kind is based on ongoing global research that includes actual ESG performance data, as well as survey responses from investment professionals, purchasing managers and graduating university students measuring perceived performance.

In general, the report observes that real sustainability performance rose significantly, year-over-year, with almost every company measured in both years improving on this dimension. What it says was most interesting, however, was that even as actual ESG performance improved, perceptions fell.

You can find the full report here:

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