2020 will undoubtedly see more activism by climate change, consumerism, vegan and other pressure groups. Why does this matter? Brand reputation that’s why, and the inconvenience of dealing with placard waving protestors outside your offices. Here’s some news from SIGWATCH;
The finance sector is a top performer in SIGWATCH’s ranking of the brands most praised by activist groups (NGOs) for the second year in a row, according to the research and strategy consultancy’s monitoring of more than 6,600 campaigning actions over the past 12 months. Leading insurers’ pledges to divest from coal have not gone unnoticed, earning AXA, Alliance, Swiss Re and SCOR a place on the top ten most praised list. Conversely, brands with ties to fossil fuel exploration and extraction are a key target of NGOs’ wrath and feature prominently on the ranking of most criticised corporates.
According to SIGWATCH analysis, AXA (3rd), Allianz (4th), Swiss Re (6th) and SCOR (10th) rank highly as a result of their commitment to disengage from the coal producing and coal-dependent power companies. Campaigners have been pressing financial institutions to cut their funding for fossil fuel exploration and extraction for some time, and these firms have been among the first and most serious in responding to their demands. All four insurers are commended for strengthening their stance against fossil fuels, praised for pledges to not only divest but also to phase out the insurance and underwriting of coal and other fossil-fuel related businesses.
Criticised brands include energy companies, led by Royal Dutch Shell in second place. It attracts negative attention for its contribution to climate change and for corruption allegations related to a Nigerian oil deal, the subject of a criminal trial in Italy. Indian mining group Adani Group is at number four because of its controversial Australian coal mine, ExxonMobil is at number five and Total S.A. at number six. NGOs are calling them out for their links with fossil fuels and with the aim of putting pressure on the banks to stop financing them.
Commenting on the rankings, Robert Blood, founder and managing director of SIGWATCH said, “Finance firms are the star performers in this year’s most praised rankings. As Greta Thunberg and climate activists call on business leaders attending this year’s World Economic Forum to end the “madness” of investing in fossil fuels, AXA, Allianz, Swiss Re and SCOR are showing the way. By praising them, NGOs are rewarding them for a job well done and encouraging others in their sector and beyond to follow their example.
“This year we expect activist groups to ramp up their campaigning against the fossil fuel economy and the businesses that fund it. It will be interesting to see if they are able to replicate their success in securing commitments in coal to also exit oil and gas.”
About the annual rankings
SIGWATCH has been compiling annual rankings of brands most praised and most criticised by NGOs for the last ten years. The rankings are based on its monitoring of nearly 10,000 NGOs and their campaign actions over the previous 12 months.
BRANDS MOST PRAISED BY ACTIVIST GROUPS IN 2019
- Yum! Brands
- Swiss Re
- VF Corporation
- SCOR SE
BRANDS MOST CRITICISED BY ACTIVIST GROUPS IN 2019
- Royal Dutch Shell
- World Bank Group
- Adani Group
- Total S.A.
- Carnival Corporation
- Coca-Cola Company
- Sinar Mas Group