Full Ranking Methodology

Below, please find the Executive Summary and top-line details from our 2024 Methodology. For a complete overview of our processes, please view our Full Ranking Methodology.

Executive Summary

Every year, we ask the American public to identify and prioritize what issues matter most when it comes to just business behavior. Those issues become the foundation by which we annually track and evaluate companies in our Rankings of America’s Most JUST Companies. They also drive our work to incentivize corporate change beyond the Rankings – from our ongoing thematic analyses to investor products like the JUST U.S. Large Cap Diversified Index, which powers GSAM’s JUST ETF.

This document provides a detailed look at how JUST Capital calculated the 2024 Rankings of America’s Most JUST Companies. Since 2016, JUST Capital has ranked the largest, publicly traded U.S. corporations, producing a list that reflects how well each company measures up against the American public’s definition of just business behavior. JUST Capital released its inaugural industry-level ranking in 2016, and in 2017, we released our first-ever ordinal ranking, comparing companies across industries. Over the past seven years, we have continued to build upon this foundation, conducting in-house research to maintain unique and highly differentiated Data Points, refining our measures and methodologies, and engaging with more and more companies on their path to practicing more just corporate behavior.

As part of the development of this methodology and our annual Rankings, we solicited input from both the American public and subject matter experts – such as academics, investors, and corporate leaders – on our choice of measurements and our means of transforming the raw data used in our ranking model. These checks and balances have been critical to ensuring that our work and our Rankings remain as informed, objective, and accurate as possible.

To view the 2024 Rankings, visit https://justcapital.com/rankings

Our Process

To produce the annual Rankings of America’s Most JUST Companies, our methodology follows a four-step process:

1. Survey Research: JUST Capital conducts both qualitative focus groups and quantitative surveys of a representative sample of the American public in order to understand what issues represent just corporate behavior, how these issues should be defined, and their relative importance (or weight).

2. Company Evaluation: Using our expertise to interpret the views of the public and determine strong measures of corporate best practices, JUST Capital defines and collects specific Data Points that evaluate how companies in our ranking universe (based on the Russell 1000 Index) perform across these issues. 

3. Company Data Review: Companies are given the opportunity to review the collected data and submit suggestions for revisions. To support their suggested updates, companies are required to provide publicly available sources.

4. Ranking: JUST Capital develops a ranking model that leverages our survey research and company evaluations to score and rank companies in our universe. We generate an overall ranking of all companies in our universe as well as industry-level rankings to compare companies’ performance to their peers’.

A high-level overview of each of the four steps can be found below.

Step 1: Survey Research

JUST Capital’s survey research consists of both qualitative and quantitative work, in the form of focus groups and surveys. Since 2015, we have surveyed more than 172,000 Americans – representative of the U.S. adult population – adding more than 4,000 respondents in 2023.

Our survey research process begins with focus groups conducted virtually, from which we receive detailed, unfiltered input from Americans of all backgrounds about what constitutes just business behavior and how just companies should operate. The findings from these focus groups are used to inform quantitative surveys that measure the importance and relevance of the core issues identified. The surveys use a Max-Diff discrete choice modeling technique, which asks respondents what issues are most and least important to defining a just company. The resulting analysis assigns a weight to each issue, which indicates the probability that a member of the American public would choose that issue as most important.

This year, our qualitative and quantitative survey research yielded 20 Issues and their relative importance to the American public. To provide further clarity around how to better balance stakeholder interests, we classify each Issue by the stakeholder it affects most, organizing the 20 Issues into five Stakeholder groups: Workers, Customers, Communities, the Environment, and Shareholders & Governance. In order of importance to the American public, this year’s Stakeholder groups and their related Issues are as follows:

Step 2: Company Evaluation

The Issues identified by the American public form the basis for JUST Capital’s evaluation of America’s largest companies. As a first step in evaluating companies, we develop Metrics, or conceptual measures of corporate performance, for each of our 20 Issues.

Following the development of Metrics, our analysts determine appropriate Data Points that can be used to calculate those Metrics. 

This year, JUST Capital collected 236 raw data points that are aggregated into scored Data Points and used to calculate the Metrics of corporate performance. Data Points are collected, where applicable, for our entire universe of ranked companies.

Step 3: Company Data Review

Once Data Points have been collected, JUST Capital provides ranked companies with an opportunity to review their data, ask questions, and suggest updates to their Data Point values. Over the course of five weeks, representatives from ranked companies are invited to review their company’s data on the JUST Capital Corporate Portal – a secure, web-based comment platform. JUST Capital analysts assess each suggestion companies submit to ensure that all data are accurate, relevant, consistent with our metrics and methodology, and publicly disclosed.

Step 4: Ranking

The fourth and final step of JUST Capital’s methodological approach is producing a cross-industry ordinal rank of each company in our universe.

To construct the Rankings, JUST Capital calculates a series of relative Metric scores from Data Points and then averages them to get relative scores at the Issue level. In select cases where companies do not have the underlying Data Points needed to compute a Metric Score, we apply a missing data treatment. Select Data Points are further normalized to account for variations in company size and scale. To account for other cases where a company’s Data Point value or Metric score appears to be an outlier, we winsorize or cap its Metric- and Issue-level scores. A company’s overall score is then determined by calculating the sum of its scores across all Issues, weighted by each Issue’s importance as derived from the Max-Diff survey results. The overall rank directly relates to a company’s score, where a higher overall score results in a better rank.

In addition to producing an ordinal ranking of the companies in our universe, JUST Capital also generates an industry-specific ranking. A company’s industry-specific rank is obtained by comparing its overall rank to other companies within its industry. Companies with a higher cross-industry score are ranked higher in the industry-specific rankings.

For more in-depth detail on how we created JUST Capital’s 2024 Rankings, please see our full methodology.

Have questions about our research and rankings?  We want to hear from you!