JUST Report

JUST’s Latest Index Concept Shows Companies That Lead on Worker and Environment Issues Outperformed Peers by Over 20%

This report was authored by JUST Senior Director of Quantitative Research & Analytics Mona Patni and Senior Research Manager Laura Thornton.

As we continue to experience global heat waves, wildfires, and extreme weather, it is increasingly important that companies consider the ways in which climate impacts all their key stakeholders – including workers, customers, communities, shareholders, and the environment in which they operate.

In particular, workers stand to be keenly affected by climate change, which looms large over the well-being of their communities as well as the security of certain jobs and industries. Calls for transitioning to greener energy sources represent not only a vital step in addressing climate change; they also carry significant implications for workers and communities that have traditionally relied on the fossil fuel industry for jobs.

With Climate Week and Labor Day not far behind us – we were interested to analyze the companies that lead on investing in the needs of their  workforces and reducing their environmental impact. Building upon the collection of index concepts that JUST Capital launched earlier this year, we’ve constructed a new concept: the Workers & Environment Leaders, which tracks the top 20% of companies that perform best across all the Environment- and Worker-related Issues in our 2023 Rankings. 

What we found is that the Workers & Environment Leaders has outperformed the Russell 1000 by a significant 21.73% from January 2018 to July 2023.

The companies that are investing in both their workers and the environment are clearly seeing strong returns in the market, signaling that investors benefit when the transition to green energy is conducted with workers central to the conversation.

Amongst the companies included in the Workers & Environment Leaders, several stand out for their efforts to prioritize the health of both their workforce and the environment. 

All of these companies have also set climate commitments through the Council for Inclusive Capitalism, which houses resources for companies on the journey to enabling a just transition.

The importance of this “just transition” cannot be understated. As we continue to face uncertainty for the workforce and climate alike, an integrated approach is essential in fulfilling the priorities of the public, which drive corporate performance in our Rankings as well as inclusion in the Workers & Environment Leaders index concept. Companies working toward a just transition are able to:

  • Protect jobs in local communities by investing in workforce advancement – in particular, retraining and alternative economic opportunities that can safeguard the livelihoods of the most vulnerable workers.
  • Foster innovation and enhance energy security by investing in renewable energy, helping to reduce reliance on fossil fuels while stimulating economic growth and job creation.

Companies in the Workers & Environment Leaders not only outperform in the market, they outperform their Russell 1000 peers on many of the issues we track. As compared to the Russell 1000, Workers & Environment Leaders:

The Workers & Environment index concept – along with the others we launched earlier this year – are a powerful tool in our helping us continue to build the business and investor case for why just business is better business. They can be leveraged and licensed as is, or spark a conversation for how we might work together to craft a custom index or product. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us.

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