Corporate reputation is a more important measure of success than stock market performance, profitability and return on investment, according to a survey of some of the world’s leading CEOs and organization leaders.

This might give more leverage to environmental health and safety pros working in major corporations. EHS incidents have a history of damaging reputations, credibility and brand image.

The World Economic Forum sent a survey in December to all 1,500 participants to its 34th annual meeting. About ten percent of the participants (132 respondents), who are primarily drawn from the world’s 1,000 leading global companies, responded.

Three-fifths (59 percent) estimated that corporate brand or reputation represents more than 40 percent of a company’s market capitalization. And more than 77 percent believe that reputation has become more important over the last two years.

Ninety-two percent of corporate survey respondents (103 leaders) perceive reputation as important to their corporate strategy and 24 percent rated corporate reputation as the most important measure of success.

Survey respondents named only the quality of products or services (27 percent) more often than corporate reputation as the leading success measure. Sustainability was named by six percent of those polled as the leading measure.