VW challenges Shell as world's 'most hated' brand after emissions scandal

The emissions scandal has propelled Volkswagen to the fourth spot in a list of brands most hated by NGOs, while Shell retains the top place.

Greenpeace attacked VW following the emissions scandal
Greenpeace attacked VW following the emissions scandal

Energy companies dominate the list of the most criticised companies in the world.

Shell’s Artic drilling plans made it a particular target for criticism in 2015, according to research by NGO tracker Sigwatch.

In the UK, companies including Barclays, Nestlé, HSBC, Morrisons, Tesco, Asda-owner Walmart and Amazon were among the least popular firms.

Confusingly, Barclays, Tesco and Nestlé also appear on the UK's "most praised" brands list.

Sigwatch said this was down to firms being strongly criticised by NGOs in one area, but pleasing NGOs in another and responding quickly to pressure.

Sigwatch founder and managing director Robert Blood said: "Nestlé’s top place is a remarkable achievement. Not many years ago the firm was viewed by most NGO's as simply too obdurate to deal with.

"Then in 2010, Greenpeace hugely embarrassed it over palm oil sourcing, effectively accusing Nestlé of murdering orangutans. Nestlé clearly used this ‘learning moment’ to rethink its relationships with NGOs."

M&S second most praised firm globally

Marks & Spencer was the second most praised firm globally due to it working closely with NGOs on sustainability and ethical sourcing issues. It also claimed the most praised title in the UK.

Other companies in the top 20 most praised firms include Apple, Unilever, H&M, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Walmart.

Sigwatch believes NGOs like retailers due to their sensitivity to ethical criticism and willingness to act fast to rectify issues.

Research was put together through an analysis of the campaigns of 7,500 NGOs, covering a range of organisations including charities, watchdogs, research-driven policy organisations, industry lobby and pressure groups.

Examples of the types of groups tracked include Friends of the Earth, WWF, Amnesty International, Oxfam, Greenpeace, and PETA.

Most praised brands in the UK:

  1. M&S
  2. Unilever
  3. Nestle
  4. Associated British Foods
  5. Tesco
  6. IKEA
  7. Sainsbury's
  8. Coca-Cola
  9. John Lewis
  10. Barclays

Most criticised brands in the UK:

  1. Shell
  2. BP
  3. Rio Tinto
  4. VW
  5. BHP Billiton
  6. Standard Chartered Bank
  7. Barclays
  8. Nestle
  9. HSBC

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