The JUST Report: Meet the 2022 JUST 100 Leaders
Our annual Rankings of America’s Most JUST Companies release is always an exciting moment, but this year’s launch has been, in many ways, the biggest ever.
With our media partner, CNBC, we’ve showcased a week’s worth of interviews with CEOs in the JUST 100 (and we’ve got several more to go) and dozens of them have promoted their recognition publicly through their various channels. Alphabet took our #1 spot for the first time this year, due in part to exceptional performance on benefits, pay, equity issues, and environmental sustainability, but there are plenty of plaudits to go around.
Issue-wise, worker criteria accounted for fully 40% of the ranking model by weight, and more if you include “Creating U.S. Jobs” in that category. This presents genuine opportunities for real leadership. Delta CEO Ed Bastian told Andrew Ross Sorkin that his airline’s success in this difficult environment is impossible “if you don’t have happy employees – if you don’t have employees that want to serve, that feel respected, feel trusted, feel backed up.”
Speaking on Squawk Box, Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman highlighted another key issue: disclosure. “We’re moving into what I would say is the second phase of ESG, which is how quickly companies can move along and make a difference and have an impact. The only way we can measure that is if it’s disclosed.”
We agree. In fact, that’s central to our theory of change for stakeholder capitalism as a whole. Ask any CEO, and they will tell you that business success today is driven by how much value they create for all their stakeholders. That grows the pie for everyone, and gets to grips with some of our most intractable societal challenges. But for that to truly work – for markets to really hold companies to account for their performance on stakeholder issues – it has to be supplied with information on company performance it can trust.
That’s where JUST comes in. I hope you dig into the results, and come back to us with any feedback on ways we can improve. In the interim, check out some of the highlights from the CEO interviews on CNBC.
This Week in Stakeholder Capitalism
This week we’re spotlighting leading policies from the Top 5 companies in the JUST 100:
Alphabet sources 100% of its energy from renewables, a goal the company reached in 2017 and one that only 13 companies in the Russell 1000 have achieved.
Intel remains the only company out of all 954 we rank to release Component 2 of its EEO-1 report, which details pay by intersectional demographic data category as well as job-level – the most comprehensive pay gap analysis disclosure.
Microsoft sets a Science-Based Target in line with a 1.5°C warming scenario, a level of climate commitment that is matched by only 6.8% companies in our 2022 Rankings.
Salesforce encourages employee-led giving and volunteering and matches up to $5,000 of employee donations to charitable causes.
Bank of America is one of 18.5% of the companies in our Rankings that has set public, measurable, and time-bound diversity targets for its workforce.
“We are a disclosure economy. If you really think about the public markets and what the SEC requires, it requires disclosure to allow investors to make an informed choice. And you’re right, there are certain disclosures that companies may say ‘you know what, let me get better first before I disclose.’ In fact, one of the things that Nasdaq did recently was we are disclosing now the diversity composition of our company. And that’s not a required disclosure. And in some respects, you sit there and say ‘well gosh I wish it was better, maybe I want to try and make it a better picture before I disclose it.’ But we made the decision, even though we know that we have work to do, to disclose that to investors and allow them to track our progress. Investors really appreciate the ability to track progress.”
- Adena Friedman, CEO of Nasdaq, speaking to CNBC on the company’s inclusion in the JUST 100 and the future of ESG disclosure.
“We are a talent magnet and we believe that that is very much related to the fact that people want to go to companies that create value, have the right pay equity, pay the right salaries, but also lead with values who have sustainability.”
- Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture, on CNBC speaking to how the company’s stakeholder-driven approach helped it recruit 50,000 employees last quarter.
“It’s an ‘and,’ and an ‘and.’ It’s not an ‘instead of’ or and it’s not a ‘putting these [ESG goals] ahead.’ However, in order to get revenue growth, we have to be able to attract employees. In order to attract employees, we have to be perceived as just and equitable. DEI plays a role, it allows us to get more employees across all kinds of communities. We believe that actually being sustainable is not instead of profit. When we recycle, we use clean energy, and we use less energy, our energy bills go down. It’s an ‘and,’ it’s not an ‘or.’ And thinking about that way benefits everybody, including investors.”
- Arvind Krishna, CEO of IBM, speaking to CNBC on how the company’s ESG goals have complemented its revenue growth and recruiting efforts.
Must-Reads of the Week
In addition to the broadcast interviews showcased above, our media partner CNBC has been unpacking key stakeholder performance stories at CNBC.com/just100.
Squawk Box co-anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin sat down with Martin to discuss trends in disclosure, recent controversies involving Meta and Intel, and the growing gap between CEO and worker pay.
CNBC’s Senior Editor Eric Rosenbaum explores why the no. 1 ESG issue for Americans isn’t climate change, it’s workers. Drawing on insights from JUST and PayPal CFO John Rainey, Rosenbaum explores the challenges around evaluating companies with large contingent workforces, and showcases what good looks like when it comes to investing in workers’ financial well-being. In another piece, Rosenbaum connects the list to emerging ESG trends, exploring the dominant position of tech companies, the high-stakes correlation between market size and just business behavior, and asks tough questions about Meta and ExxonMobil.
Chart of the Week
This chart showcases the win-win of stakeholder value creation, demonstrating JUST 100 outperformance on key ESG metrics in this year’s Rankings. Learn more here.