It’s judgment day—sort of, as CRO presents CRO’s 10 Best Corporate Citizens By Industry 2007 (Part 2).
Using the research tools and methodology of IW Financial of Portland, Maine, CRO magazine dons its analytical robes and rates the citizenship disclosures, policies and performance of large-cap, public companies in the Auto & Vehicles; Paper; Technology Hardware; Technology Software; Transport; and Travel & Lodging industries.
To recap, in CRO’s 10 Best Corporate Citizens By Industry 2007 (Part 1) in our Sep/Oct issue, we took a similar tack, although we gauged the corporate responsibility efforts of companies in the Chemical, Energy, Financial, Media and Utilities industries.
When it comes to verdicts in the U.S. legal arena, defendants have the constitutional right to be judged by a jury of their peers.
However, in this extra-legal domain of CRO’s 10 Best, we instead measure companies against their peers, under the theory that apples-to-apples comparisons, where possible, make for appropriate yardsticks.
Alas, we’ve determined that the listed companies are the “best corporate citizens ” in their industries and rank right up there.
ON ROAD TO 10 BEST, COMPANIES WERE RESEARCHED, MEASURED AND RANKED
Eaton (No. 1 in Autos & Vehicles) demanded in its “Code of Supplier Conduct” that the company have “unrestricted access” to supplier facilities and records without prior notice.
Intel (tied with Cisco Systems for No. 1 in Technology Hardware) contributed more than $10 million to San Francisco-area educational organizations and nonprofits.
And Union Pacific (tied with Burlington Northern Santa Fe for No. 1 in Transport) can pump its fists about employee wellness because its workers can burn calories and flex their pecs in a fitness center inside the company’s Omaha, Neb., headquarters or at a network of gyms around the country.
To make the lists, IW Financial mined U.S.-headquartered companies from the Russell 1000 in the selected industries and used a standardized process to evaluate each company in Environment, Climate Change, Human Rights, Employee Relations, Corporate Governance, Lobbying, Philanthropy and Financial categories.
The research was rigorous as the companies were measured using about 170 data elements.
To make the final call on the composition of the 10 Best lists, IW Financial averaged the ranks for the eight categories.
“Inevitably, companies will want to know how to do better on these lists, either because they are on the list and want to move up, or aren’t on the list and want to break into the top 10,” says Mark Bateman, IW Financial’s Director of Research. “My advice to companies is to significantly increase their public disclosure on the topics included in the CRO ratings. Basing disclosure on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Reporting Guidelines is a great foundation for transparency. Transparency is the starting point for improved performance and recognition of improved performance.”
As you read the 10 Best lists in the following pages and eye how particular companies ranked in each category, there are ample data to review.
But, what’s behind the numbers? What kinds of activities did corporations undertake to earn themselves these stellar grades?
The following information about the No. 1’s in each 10 Best list are an attempt to give the numbers some context.
Eaton, a Cleveland, Ohio, manufacturer of engine components and hydraulic systems for the automotive and aerospace industries, ranked in the top 10 of five categories in Auto & Vehicles. Its highest category ranking came in Human Rights and that was based on its participation in the U.N. Global Compact and its relatively low, direct exposure to “countries of concern.”
In its supplier code of conduct, Eaton implored each of its partners to grant their workers the rights to free association and collective bargaining, and warned that violating the company’s gift and gratuity policy “risks immediate loss of all existing and future Eaton business.”
Weyerhaeuser, (tied for No. 1 with Temple-Inland in Paper) is a forest products company based in Federal Way, Wash. It ranked in the top 10 of five categories, including its top mark in Environment. On environmental issues compared with its peers, the company was the most transparent, and disclosed developments like its intent to spend some $10 million on environmental remediation projects in 2007.
Temple-Inland, is an Austin, Texas, firm that manufactures corrugated boxes and lumber products. In addition to its top mark in Philanthropy among its industry peers, Temple-Inland posted a three-year total return of 20.68 percent, the highest among Paper companies that ascended into the 10 Best.
In Technology Hardware, Intel and Cisco Systems battled it out to a draw. Intel, a Santa Clara, Calif., semiconductor-maker, scored highest among its peers in Philanthropy and took third in Employee Relations. Fueling that mark, Intel gives full-time employees in the U.S. eight-week paid sabbaticals every seven years.
Cisco Systems, a San Jose, Calif., network-equipment provider, ranked in the top 10 in five categories, including its top mark in Corporate Governance. Cisco says that every quarter, its Sustainable Business Practices team reports on CSR matters to the executive vice president of operations, with unaddressed issues getting assigned to appropriate teams or executives.
Adobe Systems, (No. 1 in Technology Software) the San Jose, Calif., software firm, scored in the top 20 of all eight categories, including fourth in Employee Relations. Among its perks, Adobe offers employees a maximum of 100 hours of backup childcare annually, and elder care when normal arrangements don’t materialize.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe (tied for No. 1 in Transport) ranked first in Corporate Governance and Human Rights. The company’s endorsement of the Global Sullivan Principles of Social Responsibility led to its premier status in Human Rights.
And, Choice Hotels International, (No. 1 in Travel & Lodging) the Silver Spring, Md., hotel franchisor, achieved second-place marks in the Lobbying and Philanthropy categories. In Lobbying, Choice practiced what might be called a less-is-more approach. Choice’s lobbying efforts were below the reporting threshold.
Meanwhile, lobbying for a position in CRO’s 10 Best would have been to no avail.
Their achievements were all in the numbers.
For more information about IW Financial and its research, visit www.iwfinancial.com.
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