Year in Review

Stakeholder Capitalism: ‘The Fierce Urgency of Now’

2020 was a year none of us will ever forget.

It brought a global pandemic and an economic recession, a national reckoning with racial inequity and a violent attack on democracy itself – each historic and distinct, yet caused by and compounding the others. It brought out the best in business behavior, and showed us what was possible when we put people first. It was a year that also exposed a simple truth, which is that society’s shift to stakeholder capitalism is now an urgent necessity.

For JUST Capital, like so many others, 2020 presented enormous organizational challenges. Yet I am proud to say that our team rose to the occasion. We set ourselves big goals and surpassed them. As you’ll see in this report, we took our research, corporate engagement, programs, investor, donor, and editorial work to new levels, and expanded our audience by orders of magnitude. We grew our team, our board and advisor collective, and more than doubled our donor community. Our COVID-19 Tracker, JUST 100, and ongoing program work on racial equity and worker financial wellness began to drive real, tangible change on the issues that our surveys confirmed Americans value most. As S&P Global CEO Doug Peterson said, we have become “a driving force behind the stakeholder capitalism movement.”

Looking ahead, we feel that the reality of a more just economy is within our grasp. Stakeholder capitalism has gone beyond being merely an idea. It has shown us its human face. This is about lives, and livelihoods. It’s about rethinking the role of business in society. It’s about the future health of our communities and our planet, and the creation of long-term value and prosperity, in the broadest sense of the word. It’s about creating an economy that works for all Americans.

I have never been prouder to be part of any organization, and never been more excited about our future – I hope you’ll join us on this journey and become a member of our JUST network today.

Martin Whittaker, JUST Capital CEO

Tracking COVID-19 Impacts

With COVID-19 disrupting all aspects of our economy and society, we pivoted our efforts to track corporate responses to the pandemic, analyze how those actions align with the priorities of the public, and demonstrate how the companies that prioritized their stakeholders have been more resilient than their peers.

How the Public’s Priorities Compared to Corporate Actions

Survey Conducted April 29-30, 2020
Corporate data captures early response to the COVID-19 pandemic (through June 2020)

In The News

Dealbook: Respond, Reopen, Reset


Covid might have upended the concept of the best companies of the year


Coronavirus Is Going to Change Corporate Behavior


JUST Capital CEO on Coronavirus Crisis


Companies Pledging Not to Lay Off Workers


Advancing Racial Equity

Last summer, the killings of George Floyd and many other Black Americans during the pandemic sparked a nationwide reckoning with racial injustice across all facets of society, including corporate America. We launched new programs to understand how the public expects companies to address systemic racism in the workplace and communities and provide actionable next steps for corporate leaders. Looking forward, we will continue to measure corporate America’s commitments, analyze the state of disclosure, and evolve our CEO Blueprint for Racial Equity in partnership with PolicyLink and FSG.

Measuring Corporate Performance

This year, our annual Rankings showcased the companies at the forefront of stakeholder-driven leadership, tracking how corporate leaders delivered value to all their stakeholders – including their workers, customers, communities, shareholders, and the environment – amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Powered by the priorities of the public, our JUST 100 list of companies leading the way was published in partnership with Forbes, and provides a snapshot of how corporate America measures up on key stakeholder issues.

In The News

Americans Send a Clear Message to Corporate America: Focus on Workers


Worker Satisfaction Is Becoming a Top Priority for CEOs


Target, Walmart, and Best Buy Are Being Hailed as Heroes


CEO Daily: The Power of Purpose


10 Companies Taking a Stand


Prioritizing Workers & Wages

Since we began our survey research work back in 2015, Americans let us know again and again that they believe a top priority for companies should be paying their employees a living wage. In 2020, we teamed up with PayPal, the Financial Health Network, and the Good Jobs Institute to make workers’ financial health and security a C-suite and investor priority. Our Worker Financial Wellness Initiative asks CEOs to consider whether their employees are able to make ends meet, and provides the tools to assess their financial health and security.

Highlighting Corporate Leadership

This year, the American public told us they expect more from corporate America than ever before – from supporting stakeholders through COVID-19 to addressing systemic inequality to protecting our democratic process. And many corporate leaders are paving the way, and spoke directly with JUST on what they’re doing to address the most critical issues of our time.
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
“It’s an honor to be recognized as one of America’s Most Just Companies by Forbes and JUST Capital. This recognition confirms our belief that purpose and profit are mutually reinforcing forces that enable environmental and socially responsible business success for the benefit of shareholders and stakeholders alike.”

- Steve Rendle, Chairman, President and CEO
“When you deliver a positive impact on people, the planet, and the communities you serve, you create the conditions for both business and society to thrive. We are proud to be alongside so many other great companies on this year’s JUST 100 list and grateful for the work JUST Capital is doing to advance the cause of stakeholder capitalism.”

- Enrique Lores, President & CEO
HP Inc.
“Our company’s purpose is to enrich lives through technology, and to bring this to life we know our employees need to feel supported and empowered, especially given the challenges we have all faced this year. By doing so, we are in a stronger position to positively impact all who we serve, and I’m proud that this important work is being recognized on this year’s JUST 100 list.”

- Corie Barry, CEO
Best Buy Co. Inc.
“We are thrilled to be named one of America’s most JUST companies. UPS is committed to creating a more sustainable company — and world – by being customer first, people led and innovation driven."

- Carol B. Tomé, CEO
“We are honored to be named one of America’s most JUST companies. Being a good corporate citizen is part of Campbell’s DNA.”

- Mark Clouse, President and CEO
“The world around us is changing quickly and being one of America’s most JUST companies confirms our belief that when we do right by our diverse stakeholders, good things happen for all.”

- Dennis Arriola, CEO

Demonstrating the Investor Case

Against the backdrop of COVID-19, JUST Capital expanded its product partnerships, launching new investor products and indexes, while deepening our research on the investment case for just business – even during an economic downturn.

JUST US Large Cap Diversified Index vs Russell 1000 (% total return)

Connecting Stakeholder Performance and Market Performance
Driving Investment Capital Toward JUST Companies
Reshaping the Role of Business in Society

In The News

What a Biden Presidency Means for Capitalism, ESG, and American Workers


Why Big Companies Have Embraced Social Responsibility


The Impact of Investing in 2020


Now Is the Time to Build a More Inclusive Economy


Accessing Companies that Support Just Business Behavior


Building Our Organizational Strength

In this year of tremendous upheaval, JUST Capital saw exponential growth thanks to our investment in our mission, our focus on the critical issues of our time, and the committed work of our team.

Growing JUST

284 press highlights, an 83% YOY increase

197 editorial bylines, a 126% YOY increase

1700000 page views, a 186% YOY increase

$100000 in #GivingTuesday contributions

136 donors in 2020, a 240% YOY increase

70 inaugural JUSTGen members

7 new advisors

2 new major foundation partners

Financial Overview

Where We're Headed

2021 will be a critical and formative year for stakeholder capitalism. As our nation welcomes a new administration, heals the recent rifts in our democracy, and emerges on the other end of the pandemic, corporate America must play a key role in forging a stronger, more resilient, more inclusive economy – one that works for all Americans in times of both stability and crisis. JUST Capital will be focused on this same north star – continuing to look to the public for guidance as we track corporate actions in a time that necessitates strong leadership and accountability from the business community. This work will aim to:

Incentivize change within corporate America on issues from racial equity to financial wellness to health & safety.

Take the pulse of the public on corporate America’s role in the most pressing issues of our time.

Engage with government leaders through convenings on fostering stakeholder capitalism in America.

Work with the financial community to drive investment toward companies at the forefront of stakeholder capitalism.

Explore more of JUST Capital’s plans for the upcoming year – and how you can be involved – here.