On the road to a more just marketplace, America can only get so far without the bold efforts of its corporate leaders. And tech companies, which have contributed to some of our nation’s most pressing challenges – from data privacy to income inequality – may currently stand at the forefront of solving them.
Microsoft, this year’s top company in JUST Capital’s Rankings of America’s Most JUST Companies, announced yesterday that it would invest $500 million in affordable housing in the Seattle area – a move that signals a long-term commitment to the company’s local community.
Arriving on the heels of fellow tech giant Amazon’s announcement that it would build new campuses in Long Island City and Richmond, Microsoft’s announcement also reflects an ambitious effort to tackle the impacts – including growing income and housing inequality – that it has had on the local communities where its industry is concentrated, not unlike Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff’s initiatives to support San Francisco’s homeless population.
And this is not the first time that Microsoft has done so – its efforts to address data privacy issues and expand paid parental leave policieshave positioned the company head and shoulders above the competition. And not only with regard to ethical concerns – Microsoft has outperformed its peers in recent quarters, and its latest commitment is just another example of the company’s proactive efforts to address issues before external factors, including the market, force its hand.
In our Rankings, Microsoft ranks not only first overall, but is also tied for third for the work it does to maintain strong relationships with communities. A few other key metrics that drive Microsoft’s high performance in the 2018 list of America’s Most JUST Companies include:
- Promoting work-life balance by providing child care assistance, including subsidies and discounts to childcare centers near Microsoft offices.
- Supporting local suppliers through its Excellence Awards Program, and fostering technology skills in supplier communities through the Microsoft YouthSpark program.
- Following through on its commitment to gender pay equity, and has women comprising a third of its Board of Directors.
- Achieving 100% net carbon neutrality in global operations spanning over 100 countries, and recycling or composting approximately 89% of its solid waste.
As more and more U.S. companies seek to align their business practices with the priorities of the American public, Microsoft’s efforts to address its societal impacts can and should serve as an example to companies across all industries – not just in the tech sector – of how they can support a form of capitalism that works for all the people it serves.
This article was originally published on Forbes.com.