This report was written by Saakshi Suri, Manager of Data Analytics.
This week marks the third anniversary of the Business Roundtable’s announcement redefining the purpose of a corporation to promote an economy that serves all Americans. The revised statement declared that companies would move beyond the shareholder primacy model and lead their businesses to the benefit of all stakeholders – workers, customers, communities, suppliers, the environment, and shareholders.
Over the past several years, we’ve been tracking the public’s perception of corporate America’s progress in promoting an economy that works for all Americans – see our latest polling report here – as well as the specific stakeholder performance of BRT signatory companies in our annual Rankings of America’s Most JUST Companies, to explore how these companies are following through on their commitments.
This year, we looked at how BRT signatories stacked up in our Rankings distribution over the last three years, to better understand trends in their performance. Of the 239 current BRT members, 189 (79% of the total) are included in JUST Capital’s 2022 Rankings of Russell 1000 companies. In 2021, 188 signatories were ranked, and in 2020, 181 signatories.
In contrast to this year’s polling, which shows that Americans overall believe that companies are not following through on delivering an economy that serves all Americans, this analysis shows that stakeholder performance by BRT signatories in our Rankings has in fact trended upward in the last three years, signaling that companies that have made public commitments to serving all stakeholders seem to be following through on those commitments more than their non-BRT signatory peers.
For example, between 2020 and 2022, the composition of BRT signatories in the top decile of our Rankings – the JUST 100 – grew substantially, from 49% to 62%. That growth plateaued between 2021 and 2022, with only one additional BRT signatory making it into the JUST 100 this year.
It is also worth noting that a majority of BRT signatories are in the top 50% of JUST’s 2022 Rankings distribution, a trend that has been consistent over the last three years. The composition of BRT signatories in the bottom 10% of our Rankings has also substantially decreased over time.
Similarly, when we look at individual stakeholder performance on Worker, Customer, Community, Environment, and Shareholder & Governance scores in JUST’s 2022 Rankings, BRT signatories have consistently had a higher average rank percentile than their Russell 1000 peers across every stakeholder.
Overall, BRT signatories performed best on Environment and Communities issues, with average rank percentiles of 74% and 71%, respectively. Specifically, for the Environment stakeholder, BRT signatories showed the most improvement in performance, with their average rank percentile for Environment growing from 61% in 2021 to 74% in 2022 – the biggest improvement in rank across stakeholders.
BRT signatories tend to have stronger public disclosure on a variety of issues compared to their non-BRT peers. For example, the signatories are:
BRT signatories appear to do better, compared to their non-signatories peers on some aspects of performance as well. For example, BRT signatories:
We analyzed the performance of the 239 BRT Signatories in our Rankings distribution over the last three years. Of the current 239 BRT Signatories, 181 were included in our universe of ranked companies in 2020, 188 in 2021, and 189 in 2022.
In the first chart above, we looked at the composition of BRT signatories in the different decile buckets of our Rankings. This gives us insight into how prominent BRT signatories perform in each decile of our Rankings as compared to non-BRT peers. For example: in our JUST 100 for 2022, 63% are BRT Signatories and 37% are non-BRT.
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