The JUST Report: The Companies Leading on Environmental Performance
Today is Earth Day. To mark the occasion, we‘ve been sharing insights and data on the state of corporate environmental leadership in America and how things are trending, including the Top 10 Companies for Environmental Performance list shared with our media partner, CNBC.
First, let’s look (as we do at JUST) at the polling data. Our surveys indicate that to the American people, “Develops and Supports Sustainable Products” is the top environmental category in our polling (up six places from last year), and a significant majority said that companies should take action on climate change by embracing environmentally friendly materials and transitioning to clean energy. Also, 86% of Americans, across political parties, were in favor of federal disclosure requirements for climate data.
One other critical insight from our polling partners at The Harris Poll. In a survey conducted for Google of over a thousand C-Suite or VP-level executives, 80% rated their company above average for their sustainability work, yet only 36% said their organizations have measurement tools in place that allow them to track their progress. Incredibly, more than half (58%) even say their own organization is guilty of greenwashing.
As we’ve said all along, concrete action, measurement and data, disclosure, and authenticity are now the keys to success.
So which are the top companies on the environment? This year’s list is led by VMware and includes Microsoft, Apple, Mastercard, and Etsy – you can find the top 10 and highlights of their policies at this link. All 10 have a verified 1.5°C science-based target (a goal only 7% of the Russell 1000 has set) and compared to their peers, they on average emit 47x less greenhouse gasses and use 3.7x more renewable energy.
Company performance overall is also improving, with 267 companies in our universe (28%) saying they’re linking executive remuneration to ESG risks and performance (up from 183 companies a year ago); and 74 (7%) disclosing an 80% or higher recycling rate (up from 27, or 3%, a year ago).
We’ve also collected the environmental leaders across all 32 industries you track, which you can also find on our site.
This Week in Stakeholder Capitalism
Amazon agrees to undergo an independent racial equity audit, led by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch. A judge has also ruled the company must reinstate a former warehouse worker who was fired after leading protests calling for more COVID-19 protections.
American Airlines becomes the first airline in the world to have a science-based emissions target approved by SBTi.
Apple releases its latest DEI report, revealing that, over the past year, 59% of open U.S. leadership roles were filled by people from underrepresented communities. Workers at a store in Atlanta file for union election, while its Union Square store in New York moves toward unionizing.
BlackRock says it predicts that by 2030, 75% of its corporate and government assets under management will have science-based plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Fifth Third Bancorp announces it will raise its minimum wage to $20/hour and provide a wage adjustment for its first four job levels above the new minimum wage beginning July 4.
Mastercard expands its push to tie executive compensation bonuses to ESG goals, and will now tie all employee bonuses to goals on carbon emissions, financial inclusion, and gender-pay parity.
Verizon, a member of our Worker Financial Wellness Initiative, raises its minimum wage to $20/hour as a “direct result of employee feedback” for its new and existing customer service, retail, and inside sales employees.
What’s Happening at JUST
Rachel Korberg, executive director of the Families and Workers Fund, highlights our Worker Financial Wellness Initiative in Fortune as she and Roy Bahat examine why a lack of benefits and fair wages – not mass automation – represent the real threat facing a full, vibrant U.S. workforce.
JUST is also proud to be part of a group of data experts convened by the Families and Workers Fundand the U.S. Department of Labor to help strengthen and catalyze quality job measurement. Read this week’s announcement for details on the new Job Quality Measurement Initiative.
Money and Markets highlights the benefits and performance of the JUST ETF, exploring how just business behavior can lead to higher returns.
(Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
“It’s not only about the pay, it’s about the opportunity. When we have opportunities, we’re able to contribute to our families, our communities, our lives. When women don’t have those opportunities, the community suffers. It is the same conversation, whether it’s in offices or on the sporting courts.”
- Venus Williams, tennis legend and entrepreneur, speaking to Fortune about the fight for equal pay in tennis and corporate America.
“Ten years ago, we were the first brand to make transparent the calorific value of our food, and then everybody followed. Recently, we were the first brand to make transparent the carbon footprint of our food, and we’re hoping that others will follow as well.”
- Niren Chaudhary, CEO of Panera, telling the New York Times about the company’s new push to lead on cutting carbon emissions in the industry.
“I’m committed to that 99-cent price – when things go against you, you tighten your belt. I don’t want to do what the bread guys and the gas guys and everybody else are doing. Consumers don’t need another price increase from a guy like me.”
- Don Vultaggio, founder and CEO of the AriZona Iced Tea Company, telling the LA Times why he has kept his product prices consistent, despite rising costs.
Must-Reads of the Week
Time analyzed reporting of environmental policies in the 10-Ks of 300 companies from the past 10 years. Over that decade, “climate change” went from appearing in less than half of the filings to 91%, “sustainability” from 27% to 80%, and “ESG” from very few to half of them.
The Business Roundtable issues its “Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy” in response to the Russia-Ukraine war, a set of 10 guiding principles for both short-term fossil fuel and long-term clean energy solutions that benefit the U.S. and its allies.
David Kamenetzsky, investor and former executive committee member of AB InBev and Mars, and Leopoldo López, former anti-regime Venezuelan political leader and Wilson Center fellow, argue in Fortune that the Russia-Ukraine war must serve as a wakeup call to corporations and compel them to stop compromising themselves for deals with autocrats.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the New York City pension fund and the office of the Illinois state treasurer are teaming up to vote against the re-election of two Amazon directors, in response to what they say is their refusal to discuss concern’s over the company’s treatment of workers.
Diligent and Fortune release the Modern Board 25, ranking the most innovative boards of directors among S&P 500. JUST 100 leader Microsoft tops the list with one of the most diverse boards (eight out of 12 members belong to underrepresented groups) and some of the highest ESG scores.
The New York Times takes a look at Ford CEO Jim Farley and the changes in direction he’s implementing in his company to compete with Tesla.
Chart of the Week
The Economic Policy Institute and The Shift Project (a joint project of Harvard and University of California, San Francisco researchers) gathered survey data on around 21,000 hourly workers across 66 retail and service corporations to compile their Company Wage Tracker. The image above is an example of how you can use the tool to compare companies side by side.