Fire department tops German survey; football and cigarettes lag | News | DW | 21.05.2019
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Fire department tops German survey; football and cigarettes lag

Thousands of Germans have ranked the fire department as the institution which contributes the most to the public good. The Catholic Church, banks, football organizations and Marlboro cigarettes did not do so well.

Germans consider the fire department, police, constitutional court and large aid organizations as institutions contributing the most to the public good.

That is according to the 2019 Public Value Atlas released on Tuesday by the Leipzig HHL Graduate School of Management in cooperation with the Center of Leadership and Values in Society at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland.

Read more: Germans anxious? No, happy and unfazed about the future

In the fourth study since the first was published in 2015, around 12,000 people were asked about the contribution of 137 companies and organizations for the common good.

Ranking number one was the fire department, followed by the civil protection force 'Technisches Hilfswerk' (BTH) and the German Red Cross. The federal government controls the BTH, 99% of whose 79,514 members are volunteers.

Police and the constitutional court were also ranked in the top ten, suggesting Germans maintain trust in institutions supporting the rule of law.

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‘Eye of the beholder'

According to study leader, Timo Meynhardt, the answers can be very subjective but they give an interesting picture of society.

"The common good is not something you just learn by adding numbers, dates, facts, but you have to ask people, in other words, common good is in the eye of the beholder," he said.

The researchers formulated four questions that participants answered on a scale of 1 ("disagree") to 6 ("agree"):

  • Does the organization do a good job in its core business?
  • Does it contribute to the quality of life?
  • Does it contribute to cohesion?
  • Does it behave decently?

The final list was then formed from the individual values.

Thumbs down for banks and football

At the bottom of the list stood cigarette company Marlboro, football organizations FIFA and UEFA, the tabloid Bild, Deutsche Bank and social media giants Twitter and Facebook.

Other companies with low rankings were Nestle, Starbucks, Volkswagen, McDonald's, Coca Cola and Commerzbank.

The top three ranked companies were eyeglass manufacturer Carl Zeiss, drugstore chain DM and appliance maker Miele.

Low rank for Catholic Church

Church organizations and the two major churches were also ranked in the study. The Protestant Church came in 19th place, far ahead of the scandal-plagued Catholic Church at 102nd place.

Read more: Germany's Protestant and Catholic churches predicted to lose millions of members

However, religious-based aid organizations tended to rank at the top compared to the religious institutions themselves.

cw/jm (KNA, epd, Tagesschau)

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