The quality of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) disclosure on corporate websites has improved markedly during the second quarter, according to research by Investis, Europe’s leading corporate website specialist. In its quarterly assessment of more than 500 corporate websites conducted between April and June, Investis found that the overall average website score improved by some 5% - the largest quarterly increase yet seen. The CSR category was the main driver of this performance, with a 15% increase in the average score for FTSE100 companies. There was also evidence in the survey of companies investing more in technology again, with scores in the Web 2.0 and Multimedia categories improving strongly in both Germany and the UK following weakness in the prior quarter.

The corporate website has become the main reporting platform for CSR performance in recent years and the quarter saw many companies relaunching these sections as part of the annual reporting cycle. There is evidence this year of much greater focus on hard data and KPIs in reporting CSR performance, with an increase of nearly 50% in the number of FTSE100 and DAX30 companies now providing detailed KPIs and reporting against those targets. A marked increase in the use of case studies and multimedia to bring CSR activity to life further contributed to the improved scores in this category.

In the overall UK rankings Centrica took the top spot in our ranking for the first time, with Shell and Anglo American making up the top 3. BP and InterContinental Hotels entered the top 10 while other notable risers include Cadbury and Standard Life. Of the five new index constituents following the March reshuffle, three entered in the bottom ten, with Balfour Beatty the highest entrant in 51st place. VT Group continues to head the FTSE250 rankings, while Investec (up 21 places to 5th), William Hill (up 39 places to 20th) and easyJet (up 99 places to 19th) were notable risers in our ranking of the top 100 FTSE250 websites.

In the rankings of German corporate websites Deutsche Post and Deutsche Bank still hold the top two positions, while Bayer rose from 8th to 3rd. Metro Group, Lufthansa and Daimler were all new entrants to the top 10 in Germany and other big DAX30 risers included EADS (up 20 places to 17th) and SAP (up 7 places to 11th. Wincor-Nixdorf was the biggest riser in the MDAX moving from 56th to 39th in the overall ranking of German corporate websites.

The survey was conducted in the second quarter of the year and is the most comprehensive and authoritative of its kind, assessing nearly 200 criteria in measuring website quality and performance. Investis now tracks more than 500 companies in its IQ Webscoring database each quarter, offering a unique view on the evolution of corporate websites for its clients and partners.

For more information on the IQ benchmarking service, please contact Joanna Smolka on joanna.smolka@investis.com, +44(0)207 038 9023 or visit http://www.investis.com/investis/aboutus/iqranking/.

Published on: 12:47PM on 23rd July 2009