Do US companies lag Europe on CSR?

I don’t know the answer to that query but it’s an interesting question. One proof point to support the idea that the US is a laggard can be found when you examine the 19 companies that make up the supersector leaders of the respected Dow Jones Sustainability Index. If you look at the list, there is not ONE US company among the leaders. About 58% of the supersector leaders come from Europe, with the UK, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland, all with multiple representation.

Given that the US is the largest economy in the world, it’s obviously not an issue in that we don’t have enough potential candidates, so what could be the answer(?)

Maybe the European companies are just more focused on sustainability than their US counterparts? Maybe there are some statistical explanations for this related to sample size, etc. The research firm for the Dow Jones Sustainability Index – SAM is based in Switzerland so does that somehow affect the rankings?

What do you think? Is this a statistical anomaly or is something really there and US companies need to improve to catch up with their EU counterparts?

5 Responses to Do US companies lag Europe on CSR?

  1. Dave says:

    This is pretty common among the EU based rating schemes – EIRIS, Ethibel, Vigeo, Tridos, Sarasin – they either all tend to favor EU companies or indeed we are all laggards on this side of the pond.

  2. Max says:

    Certainly, it is easier to blame the metric, the analyst, etc. instead of truly evaluating the problem. You sound like a bad looser infront game umpire…
    There are companies with a TRUE sustainability concern pal.

  3. Chris says:

    Europe tends to legislate more on Green issues, for instance the Green party in Germany holds the balance of power in the Bundestag or Parliament. In the US the Green’s get a bad press and in some quarters are considered Communists in new clothing. Europeans tend to be more community oriented in their thinking while Americans’s more individualistic. While an America is a young country and people dream about making a fortune and living well off it, perhaps at the expense of future generations, Europeans with their longer traditions reaching back centuries tend to think more about maintaining a steady income and conserving resources for future generations.

  4. Thomas says:

    I think it needs to be more differentiated. There are too many facettes of CSR. While the US is leading in Corporate Giving and donations (charity), Europe is certainly more advanced in Sustainability Concepts. Partially it has to do with legislation, partially also because the word “Sustainability” somehow implies “Environment”, where the US is not at the forefront, but rather Europe. So there are different ways CSR is applied in the US and Europe, not one size fits all…