Besides informing the public about a given sector, the positioning also serves to name and shame laggards. So are they effective ?
Well, the Geneva-based ethical reputation research firm Covalence has just published its annual report on the retail industry. Last year Wal-Mart was last, in the 27th position. This year it has jumped into third position, behin Marks & Spencer and Home Depot. So obviously the ranking made them pull up their socks, and all the good things they are now doing are getting positive coverage in the press. But does it matter ? The report does not tell us how consumers are reacting, but Covalence does say that Wal-Mart is still the company with the most critical articles, so the press is not letting up.
Oh, and for those interested, the main issues in the retail industry are working conditions in supply chains, environmental impact of production, waste management and climate change. See Covalence's press report here.