May 2009: Forbes magazine names Unilever in top 100 'World’s Most Reputable Companies'

May 2009 - Survey highlights Unilever's quality products

First time entrant

Unilever PLC and Hindustan Unilever have both been named in the Forbes Top 100 'World's Most Reputable Companies' list for the first time in the survey's four-year history.

Canvassing the opinion of 70 000 members of the public across dozens of countries in which Unilever operates, the survey looks at seven main drivers of reputation: performance; products and services; innovation; leadership; citizenship; governance; and workplace.

Solid performance

According to the results, Unilever scored "strongly" in four of those sectors: performance, or profitability; the quality of its products and service; its ability and speed of delivering innovation to market; and the fairness of its workplace. In all other sectors it performed "well". Unilever NV was also ranked in the top 200 companies listed.

"This is a useful insight for Unilever as we develop and review the company's brand," observes Tim Johns, VP, Corporate Communications. "It's good to know where our consumers think we are delivering well, but it's always vital to know where they think we can improve."

Forbes highlights corporate responsibility as one area the company excels in.

Seamus Gillen, Managing Director of the Reputation Institute UK which conducts the ranking, said Unilever should be very proud of the result, describing its solid performance across all measurements as "fantastic".

Seamus explained a good company should have a balanced score across every category for stability: "It's no good a company delivering really good products and services if the other areas of its business are weak."

Fair comparison

The Reputation Institute claims its ranking is valuable because it says it provides a common language for companies to help them assess and manage their reputation. It says it also allows fair and accurate comparisons across industries, countries and stakeholders.

Seamus concluded: "Armed with these results, executives can understand which areas they need to improve to enhance their reputation, as well as create strategic differences from their corporate rivals."