The rankings are based on an evaluation of nine hundred and twenty-eight of the largest publicly traded companies in five areas that, according to a survey of more than a hundred and ten thousand Americans, represent the most important aspects of business behavior: how the firm treats its workers, community, customers, shareholders, and the environment, as measured across nineteen indicators and including COVID-19-specific data points from JUST Capital's COVID-19 Corporate Response Tracker.
According to the analysis, Microsoft ranked first overall for the third consecutive year, followed by NVIDIA, Apple, and Intel, mirroring last year's rankings, while Alphabet, the parent company of Google, moved up to fifth place from sixth, and JPMorgan Chase, Salesforce, AT&T, Cisco Systems, and Adobe rounded out the top ten. Thirty-eight companies are new to the list this year, with Target, which had fallen off the list last year, returning in the fifteenth spot, due in part to the strength of its COVID-19 response efforts.
Among the companies that ranked in the top ten overall, Microsoft (software), NVIDIA (semiconductors and equipment), Apple (technology hardware), Alphabet (Internet), JPMorgan Chase (banks), and AT&T (telecommunications) also topped their respective industry rankings, as did IBM (computer services, eleventh overall), MasterCard (consumer and diversified finance, thirteenth), Anthem (healthcare providers, fourteenth), Target (retail, fifteenth), Proctor & Gamble (personal products, nineteenth), and Ecolab (chemicals, twenty-second).
The analysis also found that companies on the list pay their median workers 18 percent more on average compared with other companies in the Russell 1000; pay a living wage to 11 percent more of their workers; are 4.7 times more likely to have conducted gender pay equity analyses and six times more likely to have set diversity targets; donate six times more to charitable causes; emit 86 percent fewer tons of PM 2.5 emissions into the atmosphere; and post a 7.2 percent higher return on equity. In addition, fifty-six of the companies on the list were signatories to the Business Roundtable's Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, which rejects shareholder primacy in favor of an approach that takes into account benefits for all stakeholders.
"Now more than ever, executives and companies alike have an obligation to their employees and society to ensure that they are creating lasting change for business, culture, and all communities," said Steven Bertoni, vice president and senior editor of the CEO Network at Forbes, who edited the list in partnership with JUST Capital. "The companies on this year's JUST 100 ranking are going beyond business-as-usual, standing up for social injustices and finding real solutions to turn the challenges of 2020 into positive change."
(Photo credit: Christine McCann)