We are proud to release our JUST 100 list, in partnership with CNBC, today as part of the 2024 Rankings of America’s Most JUST Companies. Each year, we take our polling of what the American public most prioritizes when it comes to just business behavior – including paying a fair, living wage, creating jobs in the U.S., and supporting workforce retention and training – and see how the largest public corporations in the United States stack up.
This year, out of the 937 companies we ranked based on their performance across stakeholders, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) tops the list for the first time, with Bank of America, Accenture, Intel, Citigroup, Cigna Group, Ecolab, Elevance Health, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), and Micron Technology rounding out the top 10.
We believe that business can play a role in creating an economy that works for all Americans, and that the evidence shows the best way to build and run a great business comes through a stakeholder-focused approach. Here are some ways that all stakeholders – workers, communities, customers, the environment, and shareholders and governance – are linked, as shown through outperformance of JUST 100 companies.
As of January 25, 2024, The JUST 100 Index (JUONE) that tracks the top 100 ranked companies outperformed the R1000 Equal Weighted Index by 38.4% since inception.
For this year’s Rankings, our survey research team asked a representative sample of 3,001 Americans to prioritize which Issues matter most. The following chart, pulled from our 2023 Issues Report, shows the probability that an individual would choose an Issue as most important to defining a just company, and serves as the weighting for this year’s Rankings.
Over the last seven years, Worker Issues have consistently commanded the highest share of priority among the 20 stakeholder-related issues we measure, and this year is no different. As you can see, four of the five Worker Issues – including paying a fair, living wage, supporting workforce training, protecting worker health and safety, and providing benefits and work-life balance – are among the top six priorities of the public, and the collective prioritization of all five worker issues comprise 42% of a company’s score this year.
And despite the ongoing political polarization in the U.S., Americans are united when it comes to just business behavior. Among every demographic group – liberal, conservative, high-income, low-income, men, women, young generations, older generations, and white, Black, and Hispanic Americans – the Workers stakeholder is the top priority. And for nearly all of these demographic groups, the most important Issue is “Pays workers fairly and offers a living wage that covers the cost of basic needs at the local level,” which comprises a significant 17.7% of companies’ scores in this year’s Rankings.
The second-highest ranked Worker issue, “Focuses on workforce retention and employee advancement by providing training, education, and career development opportunities,” now comprises 8.3% of a company’s score. In the past two years, we’ve seen the issue of retention and advancement steadily increase in importance among the public. It’s important to note that this increase occurs alongside the rapid evolution and adoption of AI by many employers, bringing fears of how his technology could replace, or diminish, certain jobs.
This year is HPE’s first time in the top spot, after being recognized as a JUST 100 leader every year from 2018 through 2024. HPE’s standout leadership on issues like having verified SBTi 1.5-degree Net Zero commitment, providing apprenticeship programs for caregivers and the formerly incarcerated, and ensuring both women and people of color earn 100% of what similarly situated peers earn, helped propel its performance.
CNBC will delve into the data, highlighting trends and spotlighting corporate performance stories about this year’s JUST 100 leaders across the network’s broadcast and digital platforms at cnbc.com/just100. Tune into Squawk Box at 8:15am EST on Feb. 5 to see our co-founder and chairman, Paul Tudor Jones join HPE CEO Antonio Neri, interviewed by Andrew Ross Sorkin.
Have questions about our research and rankings? We want to hear from you!