The Business Concept Q4 2023

• UK’s top companies are failing to meet stakeholder demands for transparency on their corporate websites. • A recent survey of the top 200 UK companies reveals a significant need for businesses to better communicate to key audiences, which include jobseekers, investors, analysts and journalists. • Launched in 1997, Webranking, by leading agency, Comprend, is the only survey that ranks corporate websites for the top 200 UK and top 500 companies in Europe, based on stakeholder expectations. • This year, BP topped the list of UK companies, scoring highest overall for their sustainability, careers, investor and press and media content. The UK’s top companies are failing to meet increased stakeholder demands for online transparency by failing to include sought-after and essential information on their websites. New research by leading partner for tech-enabled communications and marketing, Comprend, which ranks the UK’s top 200 companies through their corporate websites, found UK companies do not have key information desired by including investors, analyst and job seekers. This includes investment proposition as well as sustainability and diversity information. The Webranking survey chimes with recent research found that the expectations of companies are at an all-time high among consumers, and that 53% of consumers aged 27-58 assume a brand is doing nothing, or hiding something if it does not communicate its actions to address societal issues.* Similar research found that global executives, on average, attribute 63% of their company’s market value to their company’s overall reputation, highlighting the importance of businesses being seen as a trustworthy source of information. ** Staffan Lindgren, Senior Advisor, Comprend, said: “A corporate website plays an important role as a trustworthy communication channel in today’s environment, where businesses are expected to be reliable and transparent. It is clear that for businesses to maintain and enhance the trust placed in them by society, they need to address the shortcomings in digital communication.” Now in its 27th year, Comprend’s Webranking survey is the largest survey of corporate websites and the only annual survey based on stakeholder expectations. It asks investors, journalists and jobseekers about their expectations when it comes to a company’s corporate website. The UK companies are measured against a set of criteria, based on these stakeholder expectations and then given an overall score. This year, the survey found that top UK companies performed particularly poorly when it came to investor relations, fulfilling on average only 26% of criteria to meet stakeholder expectations. Only half (53%) presented an investor case and just 18% presented financial targets. This compared to 28% for European companies. For Careers, UK companies performed slightly better, on average, fulfilling almost half (48%) of the criteria, including presenting information about learning and development (63%) and presenting their purpose (80%). But only a quarter of UK companies (26%) present any information about work/life balance and just 36% offer any information about working from home, which is of increasing importance to jobseekers since the Covid pandemic. In terms of presenting ESG information, there is a notable gap despite growing stakeholder interest. While companies effectively showcase documents like codes of conduct and tax policies, they fall behind in other important area such as targets and achievements. UK companies fulfil, on average just 43% of the criteria in the Sustainability section and while 72% present environmental targets, only 25% present data on target achievements. Top performers Energy company, BP, topped this year’s survey, scoring 61.4 out of a possible 100 points. It performed particularly well when it came to careers information for jobseekers as well as sustainability information. Global leader in premium drinks, Diageo, also rose in the rankings this year, climbing to second place, scoring 60.8 points. They scored highly, with a well-crafted Careers section, with information on flexible working and hiring information. Shell maintains third place on the UK list and performs well in financial reporting and sustainability. The top climber (the company that has improved its score the most since last year) is Reckitt Benckiser Group, improving the score with 16.6 points. This year’s ten best-performing UK companies were: UK companies struggle to meet increasing demands for transparency Rank Company Sector Score 1 BP Energy 61.4 2 Diageo Food, Beverage and Tobacco 60.8 3 Shell Energy 60.3 4 Unilever Personal Care, Drug and Grocery Stores 60 5 Centrica Utilities 57.6 6 Rolls-Royce Holdings Industrial Goods and Services 57 7 Coca-Cola HBC Food, Beverage and Tobacco 56.9 8 BAE Systems Industrial Goods and Services 56.5 9 GlaxoSmithKline Health Care 55.9 10 British American Tobacco Food, Beverage and Tobacco 55.5