Two vehicle manufacturers have been ranked amongst the top 10 large companies in the world in terms of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies.

PSA ranked seventh and DaimlerChrysler ranked 10th in the 2007 accountability rating of the world's 100 largest companies by revenue, according to Fortune magazine.

Todd Cort, of Csr Network, one of the authors of the study, said that Peugeot had jumped from 11th place last year to seventh this year, primarily because it was one of the only companies to achieve any reduction in actual greenhouse gas emissions during the year.

DaimlerChrysler also improved its ranking, moving up to 10th from 15th in 2006. "They now discuss assurance of the report, have better described ethical issues as a key to business strategy, and have much better transparency around the role of the board of directors in driving the CSR agenda forward," said Cort.

Ford's ranking dropped from 16th in 2006 to 27th in 2007, although it did manage to score more highly, and its drop in rankings is mainly attributable to the fact that other companies improved more.

"A weak point for Ford is the transparency around their approach to assurance," said Cort. "It is clear that they are conducting assurance of the report, but they don't describe the process and outputs very well."

General Motors dropped from 13th to 22nd in 2007. "A strong point for General Motors is their participation in multi-stakeholder initiatives such as USCAP, Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS and the Green Power Market Development Group.  A weak point continues to be their lack of assurance on the sustainability report. They (like Ford) could also use a more rational approach to stakeholder engagement," said Cort.

BMW increased its score but dropped from 31st in 2006 to 47th . Cort said that BMW benefited from not being involved in any controversies and being involved in a number of multi-stakeholder initiatives. In addition there is better transparency around the board of directors and some improved policy coverage.

Toyota ranked 37th in 2007, down from 23rd in 2006, with a slight drop in its score.

"The Prius counts for relatively little in our rating (it is an example of innovation in the area of environment) and so some are surprised to see Toyota so low in our ranking.  The low score is due to some controversies such as the lawsuit in California against stricter fuel economy regulations and the lack of published information on management system mechanisms like employee training and auditing that move the sustainability agenda within the organisation," said Cort.

VW ranked below Toyota at 39th, and again saw its score fall slightly. Cort said that "Volkswagen (as with most of the auto manufacturers) has a strong strategy statement that incorporates non-financial issues into the future of the business. But we saw very little information on employee training, target setting, management systems or around stakeholders, stakeholder issues and the mechanisms the company uses to engage stakeholders."