ireland-reptrak-sustainability-index 2022

Sustainability drives over 50% (51%) of an organisation’s Reputation

The results of the Ireland RepTrak® Sustainability Index 2022 study, announced at a launch event today, revealed that the Credit Unions have the best Sustainability reputation in Ireland out of 100 organisations measured.  Glanbia (second), Fáilte Ireland (third), Lidl Ireland (fourth) and An Post (fifth) occupied the remaining top five positions. This is the eleventh year of this study – a study that has developed in rigour and depth over those years.  The Ireland RepTrak® Sustainability Index ranks 100 of the largest, most familiar, and most important organisations in Ireland by the public’s perceptions of their performance across social performance, ethical standards, workplace, and environmental impact.  The independent study was carried out by The Reputations Agency and is based on the views of over 6,500 members of the public in the Republic of Ireland who participated in an online survey for over two months from 3rd January to 14th March 2022. 

Revealing Irish results, trends, and insights at a breakfast webinar for 200 guests this morning, The Reputations Agency examined Ireland’s top performing organisations across 13 key Sustainability drivers analysing what is resonating with the public and driving this success.  This study measures the public’s perception, drawn from both their experiences and many communications touchpoints they have had with each of these 100 organisations. This is not a measurement of the Sustainability strategies underway or their direct impacts but of how well, or not, these have been absorbed and understood by the public. 

For the last 10 years, The Reputations Agency has calculated sustainability rankings using nine factors or indicators of Sustainability.  This year, the Sustainability/ESG model has been augmented to introduce four new factors, bringing it to 13 Sustainability factors across Environmental Impact, Social Performance, Conduct and Workplace.  Taking the average score across the 100 organisations studied, of the 13 factors that help to build a reputation in Sustainability, 11 of those factors received a weak to mediocre score and just two received a Strong score – Positive influence on society and Rewards employees fairly. To win support, organisations need their sustainability strategies and initiatives to touch, impact and influence the public across multiple touchpoints – direct experiences, communications channels, and positive word of mouth.  As the end users in many environmentally sustainable product offerings for example, consumer’s selection of these products above other choices is vital to the success of those offerings in the market, helping consumers to play their role in making a difference.

 Speaking about the Ireland RepTrak® Sustainability Index 2022, Niamh Boyle, Managing Director, The Reputations Agency said,

“Society expects organisations to play their part in the community, economy, environment, dealing with the big issues that we face today, not just in Ireland but globally. The results of the Ireland RepTrak® Sustainability Index 2022, show us that the Irish Public perceive over half of the 100 organisations studied to be doing either an inadequate (nine percent) or fairly mediocre (47 percent) job in Sustainability, while the remaining 43 per cent are perceived to have robust Sustainability strategies in play.  We know that many organisations are working hard and investing more each year in their Sustainability agendas, but they continue to struggle to achieve cut through and to really embed themselves in consumers’ minds as leaders in sustainability.

“Organisations are widely scrutinised on their alignment with social causes, their environmental impact, their behaviour, their values, and the internal culture they create.  The public are more attuned to the reputation of an organisation than ever before, and for the public - actions speak louder than words.  We know that sustainability, which in our study comprises Environmental Impact, Social Performance, Conduct, and Workplace, drives 51% of an organisation’s Reputation but for many, their sustainability reputation is holding their overall corporate reputation back. These more intangible drivers and factors are now more important to an organisation’s reputation than the products or services an organisation sells.

“The key learnings from our study this year were that a clear sense of purpose should be at the core of any organisation’s sustainability strategy. Leaders have a key role to play in guiding their organisations towards that sense of purpose.  Understanding the big drivers of building a reputation in sustainability is crucial to build trust and win support from your stakeholders. This year we saw that Being a Positive influence on Society, Improving the lives of others, and Being Fair, Ethical, Open and Transparent in the way you run your business were the largest drivers of reputation. It is critical to have a strategic communications process that links Purpose, Sustainability and Reputation together, while creating real value across all key stakeholders, to help build sustainable, profitable, and valuable businesses.” 

None of the one hundred companies in the Ireland RepTrak® Sustainability Index 2022 have a Poor score, nine have a Weak score, 47 an Average tier score, 43 have a Strong tier score and just one receives an Excellent score in Sustainability this year – the Credit Unions. Ireland RepTrak® Sustainability Index 2022 highlights Being a Positive influence on Society, Improving the lives of others and Being Fair, Ethical, Open and Transparent in the way you run your business are the most important sustainability factors in driving corporate reputation.

The Ireland RepTrak® Sustainability Index 2022 data highlights that investments in sustainability communication strategies make solid business sense.  The public is 2.3 times more likely to Purchase from an organisation in the Strong tier than from one in the Weak tier and nearly three times more likely to Purchase from an organisation with an Excellent sustainability score. Likewise, the public is more than twice as likely to Trust an organisation in the Strong tier than one in the Weak tier and nearly three times more likely to Trust an organisation with an Excellent sustainability score.  The study also highlights the correlation between Sustainability and Willingness to Work for an organisation.


The top 10 most reputed Irish organisations in the Ireland RepTrak® Sustainability Index 2022 are:




Sustainability Index Score



Sustainability Index Score


Credit Unions












Fáilte Ireland









VHI Healthcare



An Post



Bord Bia



Placed in first place overall, the Irish public feels the Credit Unions shine in Conduct and Social Performance, coming first in both pillars.  Credit Unions also rank fourth in Workplace.  The Irish public continue to appreciate the work the Credit Unions does.  Looking at the open-ended commentary, some of the key themes that crop up amongst the Irish public are how fairly they treat their customers, their empathy in dealing with customers and the support they provide to their local communities.

Commenting on today’s announcement, ILCU President Helene McManus said, “The fact that credit unions have been recognised by the public as having the best Sustainability reputation in Ireland is testament to the hard work of credit unions across the country in providing an excellent service day in day out to their members. Credit unions are already known for their ethical lending practices and the positive social impact they have on their local communities through sponsorship and support for local groups. Credit unions have been at the heart of Irish communities for over 60 years and today’s accolade is an acknowledgement of their positive influence on society and the special place they hold in the minds of Irish people.”

Ranking second overall, the public place Glanbia first in Environmental impact and are impressed with how transparent they were about their targets and achievements at their own sites and throughout their supply chain, as well as the clarity of their messaging around supporting farmers to be more sustainable, reducing waste, water, and energy use, making recycled and recyclable packaging, and ensuring animal welfare, soil health, and water quality.  The public also sees Glanbia’s economic impact in rural areas, supporting suppliers and providing high quality jobs in a fair, inclusive, and progressive work environment. 

In third place, the public sees Fáilte Ireland supporting the tourism industry and working to sustain Ireland as a high-quality and competitive tourism destination. Their environmental credentials include strengthening Ireland’s tourism appeal, not just for international tourists but improving Ireland for everyone, operating with honesty, fairness, and business integrity, improving the lives of people in Ireland, whether they are here their whole lives, or just for a short visit and providing employment in highly skilled roles. 

The Ireland RepTrak® Sustainability Index 2022 study asked 6,500 members of the public to rate how well they felt 100 organisations performed across four drivers and thirteen factors; measuring the degree to which they are seen to act responsibly towards their communities and the environment in which they operate, ensure that that their businesses are responsibly run, and treat their staff well.  The Annual Ireland RepTrak® Study takes data from over 17,000 individual ratings measuring the reputations of 100 Organisations. The online survey also asked members of the public to name examples of what companies do to make them a good corporate citizen.  

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