List/Ranking ?

100 Best Corporate Citizens 2008

100 Best Corporate Citizens 2008
by corporate responsibility officer

mission & values


  • Climate Change: Climate Change is given its own category because it is simply the most dominant environmental topic in the world today, with many companies now starting to completely revamp their operations, products, services and value propositions to address the issue. This category in the CRO ratings incorporates climate change disclosure (including to the Carbon Disclosure Project, as well as company websites and sustainability reports) and climate change policies (including offsets and reduction goals). Within these areas, the criteria evaluate 22 distinct attributes. While every company should be concerned about this issue, some industries need be more concerned than others. The scores in this category were adjusted within some key industries to provide a better basis for comparison across industries.
  • Employee Relations: Companies have a significant impact on the lives of their employees and the workforce affects the ability of companies to thrive in the marketplace. This category in the CRO ratings incorporates unionization rates, publicly disclosed employee benefits and Equal Employmet Opportunity Commission complaints.
  • Governance: The scores related to corporate strategy and policy flow from the board of directors and the basic governance structures within a company. This category in the CRO ratings includes the one standard for inclusion on the Best lists: board independence. A majority of a board must be independent and key committees of the board must also be fully independent. In addition, ratings include general board accountability and demographics (board tenure, age of directors, over-commitment of directors to multiple boards, and annual election of all directors). The ratings also include executive compensation in the form of the percentage of CEO pay that is incentive based.
  • Environment: Every company has an environmental impact. Certainly some industries have more impact than others, but the presence of economic activity involves an impact on the environment. This category in the CRO ratings incorporates an evaluation of environmental disclosure (including sustainability reporting criteria and disclosure within the 10-K), environmental policies (including management systems), and environmental performance (including toxic emissions, waste management, evidence of chemical and oil spills and environmental fines). Within the disclosure and policy evaluations, the criteria evaluate dozens of attributes.
  • Lobbying: Corporate influence in the political environment is an increasingly controversial topic. Certain industries are more involved than others, so an industry comparison is helpful in evaluating this topic. This category in the CRO ratings evaluates a size-adjusted, three-year lobbying total at the federal level. Information for this category came from and the Center for Responsive Politics.
  • Philanthropy: One of the criticisms of “corporate social responsibility” is that companies just give money away to improve their image. While such philanthropy should not be a ticket to “corporate citizen of the year,” corporate giving can have a substantial and positive impact on society, so should not be ignored. This category in the CRO ratings evaluates giving levels and policies (including employee match programs).
  • Financial: Investors demand financial performance from companies, so any evaluation of corporate citizenship must include a company’s ability to meet this most basic of corporate purposes. This category in the CRO ratings evaluates the three-year return on investment in the company stock, based on Morningstar rankings. Companies without a three-year return to shareholders were not considered for the ranking. The list is intended as an evaluation of citizenship of large-cap, publicly traded, U.S.-headquartered companies. A three-year history with shareholders is a prerequisite for consideration.
  • Human Rights: The international operations of companies are rife with opportunities to do the wrong thing, or the right thing. This category in the CRO ratings incorporates disclosure (including current controversies within the company’s overseas operations), policy (including codes of conduct and performance goals), and exposure to 45 countries of concern. Companies with higher level exposure need to earn higher scores in disclosure and policy to do well.

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