Corporate Eye

CSR Website Benchmarking Results Announced

There’s one thing, and one thing only, which many business leaders may wish they had in these troubled times.  No not bottomless pockets, or even a customer-hypnotising website.

It’s the portable memory eraser from the Men In Black films.

Think about having the ability to instantly erase the memories of both creditors and consumers … huge savings could be made across all corporate finance and marketing activities!

What’s more you get to wear shades every time you use it … brilliant!

However this flight of fantasy is unlikely to become reality anytime soon, so what else can companies do to communicate their sustainability to a wider audience?

One answer is to be part of a CSR website benchmarking scheme, which is exactly happened to the companies in the Standard & Poor’s / Milano Italia Borsa index.

Top CSR Website Benchmarks

Lundquist is an Italian communications consultancy which specialises in companies’ online presence.  Last month it published its second review of Italian companies’ CSR Websites.

The benchmark uses 76 criteria as recommended by 184 respondents from over 30 countries.  Companies are evaluated against these criteria and then given a mark out of 100.

The top three companies for 2009 are as follows:


Eni, Benchmark Score: 84.5/100

Best known as the petrol retailer Agip; along with its renowned six-legged, fire-breathing dog, a wonderful and unique trademark.

The sustainability section of Eni’s website quite simply hits every single nail on the head.

The front page has links to Human Rights, Corporate Governance, News, Performance, Press, a message from the CEO, other individual contact details, publications, events … etc etc etc.

All presented in a nice clean interface which leaves you feeling thoroughly spoilt for choice.

This is fabulous work and it deserves close scrutiny by webmasters and sustainability professionals alike.

Telecom Italia 69.5 / 100

At first sight this looks like an ordinary, if good, sustainability offering.  However Telecom Italia has a couple of innovations which may account for their high ranking in Lundquist’s benchmarking.

The first is a “Toolbox” which appears throughout the website.  This allows the user to access a variety of sustainability-related content, such as the calendar or archived material, no matter which page they are currently on.

The second is the company’s tag-cloud.  Once all the rage among independent bloggers tag-clouds have fallen out of fashion in recent years simply because of the high-maintenance they require.

However on a large corporate site where a telecom_italiamultitude of subjects are routinely covered they have their own special place, and when the tag cloud is context sensitive (as it is for Telecom Italia) your content becomes available in a truly dynamic manner.

Banca MPS 64/100

One of the most disappointing aspects of corporate online sustainability communication is the lack of consistency.

For instance a company may emphasise how much it has reduced its own carbon footprint, but unless it provides commensurate information about it’s support of local communities you start to suspect it of greenwashing.

This is probably where Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the oldest surviving bank in the world, scores heavily over its rivals.

Every single aspect of sustainability is addressed and in many cases there are examples and data to back up the company’s assertions.

The website layout is conservative in its presentation, which is unsurprising for a bank.  What is surprising is that the quality of information, un-trumpeted and unspun, is probably better than may otherwise be expected.


So if greenwashing is emphasising success in only a narrow focus of sustainability, sincerity has to be focusing equally upon all aspects of sincerity.  From this point of view, Banca MPS are indeed sincere about sustainability.

Global CSR Website Benchmarking Services

Lundquist’s ambitions do not stop at the boundaries of Italy.  Earlier this year they also launched a presentation aimed at laying the foundation for an internationally accepted model for CSR communication through websites.

Corporate Eye provides website benchmarking services and one of our main foci is CSR communication. While we do not publish a benchmark review like Lundquist do, our clients know that they will receive the best possible advice on how to improve their websites in line with their country, industry and overall web presence.

It is therefore heartening to see another consultancy in another country thinking along the same lines as ourselves and publishing their research and its findings for all to see.

It just goes to show that this is the sharp end of sustainability and communication, and that companies ignore this trend at their peril.

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A former CTO, Chris has a broad and varied background. He’s been involved with blue chips, consultancies & SMEs across a wide variety of sectors and has worked in Europe, the Middle East and Australia. In 2007 he decided to combine his knowledge of business and IT with his passion for all things sustainable and has been busy writing ever since. However, his greatest ambition remains to brew the perfect cup of coffee.

Valuable start. However, what matters is behavior and the culture that drives behavior on CSR. Simply dressing up web presence is old school. CSR should drive strategy and execution.

Web presence is only old school if that the only thing the company does. CSR should be a main component any strategic plan. Disney was mentioned by a blog post this morning, This talks about how Disney is double smart because it is involving their target marketing in its CSR activities.

Greg & THansen: I agree with you both wholeheartedly!

This blog is not about how a company can use it’s web presence to greenwash its way to increased sales.

It starts from the premise that a company already has a sincere sustainability policy and then moves on to discussing how best a website can be used to communicate that policy.

This is why I’m hugely impressed by Eni’s website because the policy is most definitely there, and it’s communication is nothing short of immaculate. Similarly, while Telecom Italia’s website appears “boringly corporate”, there are very few I know of which allow access to CSR from just about any page on the site.

I’m just putting the finishing touches to a new post, provisionally entitled “Please: No More Ethical Businesses!”. Your comments would be most welcome and invaluable.

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