Israel ranks 31st out of 108 countries for environment and social responsibility, according to a new international report.
The State of Responsible Competitiveness 2007 is a biennial report that sums up the conduct of private and public businesses in 108 countries and examines their achievements regarding encouraging environmental public policy and civilian involvement.
The report was released by Accountability, an international non-profit organization, established in 1995 to promote transparency and environmental responsibility in businesses, governmental and civilian institutes worldwide.
Sweden ranked first in the report, followed by Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Britain. Australia was ninth followed by Canada, Germany and Holland. France finished in 17th place and the US ranked next at 18th, followed by Japan and Hong Kong.
At the bottom of the list were Chad (108), Nepal (107) and Bangladesh (106). Israel is finished right before Italy (32), Greece and Taiwan.
Over the years Accountability developed the AA1000, a quality standard stamp which assures a company's clients that the company they are dealing with is acting for the benefit of the society and environment they inhabit.
One of the conclusions the report presents shows the connection between market competitiveness and taking social responsibility. This challenge has encouraged businesses to handle environmental and social questions more creatively and gave birth to an entire new industry of alternative energy, while also leading to the creation of new organizations which aim to eliminate corruption.
The report also found that markets that were not adapted to this new need to create an impression in their clients that they were supportive of them in terms of the environment and social welfare would lose their customers over time.
Liad Ortar, CEO of Arkada, an Israeli company that specializes in accompanying businesses in developing and managing environmental and social policy, said Israel's companies are far behind most countries in publishing and presenting their reports to the public.
"Israel is situated in a relatively good place in the report, but it means we have to continue the efforts to make the private and the public sectors take on more social and environmental responsibility," Ortar said.