As all 50 states are in some level of reopening and Americans are figuring out what the “new normal” looks like as the coronavirus continues to linger, it can be easy to forget how chaotic the first stage of the COVID-19 pandemic was.
At JUST Capital, our team immediately began watching how businesses responded, and built the COVID-19 Corporate Response Tracker documenting the activities of America’s 100 largest employers, responsible for 13 million livelihoods. Today, Forbes launched the “Forbes Corporate Responders” ranking as part of its “Greater Capitalism” cover feature based on 22 different metrics in our Tracker, including wage increases and bonuses, paid sick leave benefits, community relief funding, price reductions, and customer accommodations.
“The companies on our Corporate Responders ranking are unveiling policies in real time that can serve as inspiration for other organizations looking to navigate this unique moment and do right by their stakeholders,” said Randall Lane, Forbes’ chief content officer.
Each company received a rating of 1 to 5 on these metrics for the time period from the start of the pandemic in mid-March to May 7, with the average resulting in a final score. Verizon, Target, and AT&T took the top three spots.
“These companies are not without controversies,” Forbes’ Ezequiel Minaya wrote, noting that even some companies that made it into the top quartile of the 100 companies JUST tracks had concerning issues around worker safety, and that it remains to be seen if even those lauded today will maintain their dedication as the recovery unfolds.
What the ranking does capture is the large corporations that recognized the severity of an unprecedented crisis and adapted quickly, and often drastically, in the interests of stakeholder capitalism – doing whatever it takes now to ensure the long-term health of the company. The list is from a moment in time, but our team at JUST will not stop tracking and analyzing them and their peers. Our new COVID data will be integrated into our annual ranking of America’s Most JUST Companies, scheduled for release in October.
“The companies featured on this list have been incredibly responsive through this first wave of the crisis, and we hope that they will continue to demonstrate the same leadership as we move into attempting to reopen our economy while protecting the health and safety of workers and communities,” said JUST’s CEO Martin Whittaker.
Hans Vestberg, Verizon
“This is totally unprecedented and your actions have to be unprecedented. But we’ve remained steadfast in our commitment to our employees, customers, shareholders and society and have continued to make holistic decisions that have positive long term effects on all our stakeholders.”
Mike Sievert, T-Mobile
“I am really inspired to see so many businesses step up to help all of us get through this together. At T-Mobile we have worked hard to do what is right for our customers, to protect our employees and to support our communities. Though I am grateful that the hard work of our teams is being noticed, this has not been about recognition. Our focus has been to keep our customers connected at a time where connectivity is more critical than ever.”
Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase
“We serve our customers, employees, and communities in good and tough times. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated challenges facing the most vulnerable in society. We believe that business, government, and community leaders must work together to provide immediate relief to help those hard hit and advance solutions that create an inclusive recovery.”
Brian Moynihan, Bank of America
“At Bank of America, we are committed to addressing this global health and humanitarian crisis by focusing on people – our teammates, our clients, and our communities. Our decade-long focus on responsible growth positions us well to help fight this war against the coronavirus, all while living our purpose to make financial lives better.”
Gail Koziara Boudreau, Anthem
“As part of Anthem’s coordinated response, we have increased access to care and treatment; made it easier for providers to focus on care delivery; and provided resources and relief to aid organizations all while ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our associates. Despite the uncertainty that remains, we see a tremendous opportunity to reimagine what’s possible for our company and for healthcare.”
Stefano Pessina, Walgreens Boots Alliance
“We are honored to receive this recognition at a time when many of our team members are on the front lines of the pandemic. They are providing an invaluable essential service at this time of immense societal need, and I am so proud of their genuine concern and caring. At Walgreens Boots Alliance, we are always focused on improving the world around us and helping our communities, according to strong ethical principles, and this commitment is now more important than ever.”
Ramon Laguarta, PepsiCo
“With COVID-19 profoundly reshaping our lives, it’s important to acknowledge the heroic medical professionals keeping us steady during these turbulent days. At the same time, there is important work being done in other sectors, including our own, to help maintain the supply of foods and beverages around the world. We couldn’t be prouder of our PepsiCo team for the role they play, not only in restocking pantries and refrigerators around the world, but in reminding us that companies and communities are inseparably linked, and that when we work together we can meet any challenge.”
For additional details, check out our COVID-19 content channel where we continue to unpack what’s happening on the ground across corporate America, share weekly polling insights, elevate leadership and best practices, and demonstrate the resiliency of JUST companies to market dynamics.