Volkswagen has made a list of non-governmental organisations’ “most hated” brands in the UK for the first time, following a turbulent year for the company dealing with fallout from the emissions scandal.
VW came in at fourth place in the survey that named Shell as the most hated brand.
VW is now the seventh least popular brand in the world, according to the survey of more than 7,500 NGOs by Sigwatch, a consultancy.
Robert Blood, founder and managing of Sigwatch, told the Independent that the Volkswagen scandal allowed NGOs to draw attention to the bigger problem of green emissions.
“Volkswagen is not an oil and gas company. It’s not a company that NGOs want to hate, but in this case they had no choice. It was a big shock for VW as it is a national champion,” he said.
In September VW admitted to rigging its US emission tests so that diesel-powered car would look like they were emitting less nitrogen oxide, which can damage the ozone layer and contribute to respiratory diseases.
“Our company was dishonest with the EPA and the California air resources board, and with all of you, and in my German words, we have totally screwed up,” said Michael Horn, former US chief executive of Volkswagen.
Nine of the top 20 most criticized companies in the UK were oil, coal or mining companies. Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil giant was the most disliked by charities for the second year in a row pushed by continuous criticism over its Artic drilling plans. British oil and gas company BP and mining corporation Rio Tinto ranked second and third respectively.
But Sigwatch has predicted that the cancellation of Shell’s Artic operation in 2015 should make the company much less of a target for NGOs this year.
“Shell has many issues and it won’t drop out of the list but we expect them to be way down the list in 2016,” he told the Independent.
Three banks, Standard Chartered, Barclays and HSBC, were in the top 10 for NGO criticism.
Mark & Spencer, Unilever and Nestlé were the most praised companies in the UK.
These are the 19 most criticized corporations in the UK for 2015
1. Shell (Royal Dutch Shell)
3. Rio Tinto
4. Volkswagen Group
5. BHP Billiton
6. Standard Chartered Bank
7. Barclays Bank
15. Newmont Mining Corporation
16. Total S.A.
18. F. Hoffmann-La Roche