15 major companies that treat employees well, value their customers, and put their communities first


Paul tudor jones ted talkTEDPaul Tudor Jones, pictured, wants corporations that recognise the human aspect of capitalism.
  • This post is part of Business Insider’s ongoing series on Better Capitalism.
  • Billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones cofounded the nonprofit JUST Capital in 2013 to measure what Americans want from corporations, and which of these corporations are contributing to a “more just” society.
  • JUST issues an annual ranking of the world’s largest corporations based on how they are creating long-term value in the United States through strong relationships with employees, customers, and society at large.
  • The companies that ranked highest in 2017 include Intel, Microsoft, and Nike.

The investor Paul Tudor Jones loves capitalism. It is, after all, the economic system that made him a billionaire.

But in a 2015 TED Talk, he explained: “Now, over the past 50 years, we as a society have come to view our companies and corporations in a very narrow, almost monomaniacal fashion with regard to how we value them,and we have put so much emphasis on profits, on short-term quarterly earnings and share prices, at the exclusion of all else. It’s like we’ve ripped the humanity out of our companies.”

It’s why in 2013 he created the nonprofit JUST Capital, alongside a founding board that included entrepreneur Arianna Huffington and United Nations special envoy Ray Chambers. JUST began polling Americans in 2014 to determine both how they perceive corporations behaving and how they would ideally like these companies to behave.

Then, JUST started an annual ranking of the world’s largest companies, as determined by the Russell 1000 Index. The ranking uses polling and data weighed against seven criteria: workers, customers, products, environment, communities, jobs, and management and shareholders. Each of these is further broken down into sub-criteria, such as “does not discriminate on pay” for “workers.”

According to JUST’s principles, the companies that recognise the human aspect of their business don’t have to make sacrifices to feel good – by acting in a “more just” way, they are investing in long-term value that trumps chasing fleeting short-term gains at the expense of everything else.

JUST released its 2017 survey results and ranking in December, concluding that, “The tacit social compact that knits us together feels more and more like it’s unravelling, and both elected leaders and Corporate America are susceptible to the outcome this represents.”

It found that among this year’s 10,000 survey respondents chosen to match the national demographics of the US, 62% of them distrust large corporations, and the vast majority of all surveyed would rather support companies they believe are just. Those who responded said that they most value a company’s relationship with its employees, and care least about its relationship with management and shareholders.

Below you’ll find JUST’s top 15 companies of 2017, with highlights explaining why the nonprofit determined them to be working toward what we call at Business Insider a “better capitalism.”

15. Procter & Gamble —  Consumer goods company based in Cincinnati, Ohio

Workers: Employees rate senior management highly, and P&G has healthy relationships with employee unions.

Environment: Has ambitious long-term environmental goals and shares updates publicly. For example, it is working toward powering all plants with renewable energy.

Jobs: Is an industry leader for jobs in the US.

14. Nike — Sports equipment and apparel company based in Washington County, Oregon

Communities: Nike’s supply chain labour abuses were highly publicized in the 1990s, but in recent years it has taken major steps to establish fewer, higher-quality relationships with suppliers, and is doing so transparently.

Workers: Nike is ranked first in its industry for its relationship with employees, for its fair pay practices, and for recently enhanced benefits for new parents or workers with an ill relative.

Products: It has found innovative paths to sustainability, including developing a publicly shared restricted substance list.

13. Rockwell Automation — Industrial automation company based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Environment: Rockwell is an industry leader in the way it manages its waste.

Communities: It has exceptional sourcing policies, including a commitment to sourcing from nearby regional businesses whenever possible.

Workers: Rockwell carefully measures employee engagement and analyses it every three years to determine what’s working and what isn’t.

12. AT&T — Telecommunications company based in Dallas, Texas

Products: AT&T has an acclaimed set of products for disabled consumers through its Corporate Accessibility Technology Office.

Workers: It has committed to diversity across the entire company, including its executive level, monitored by a council.

Jobs: AT&T leads it industry for providing American jobs.

11. Adobe Systems — Software company based in San Jose, California

Workers: Adobe has committed to equal pay, and has generous parental and medical leave policies.

Environment: Is an industry leader in its sustainability and waste management policies and had no environmental fines or penalties in 2016.

Communities: Adobe is highly selective of the countries it chooses to do business with.

10. Symantec —  Software company based in Mountain View, California

Workers: Symantec has exceptional employee training programs. It is working on improving its number of female employees by 15% from 2014 to 2020.

Products: It is an industry leader for protecting customers from even highly effective cyber attacks.

Communities: Is tied for first overall for its relations between offices and their surrounding communities.

9. Salesforce.com — Cloud computing company based in San Francisco, California

Workers: In 2016, Salesforce spent $US3 million across its company to achieve virtually equal pay for positions across demographics. It also provides what JUST calls “world-renowned benefits” like unlimited vacation time, sabbatical leave, and a generous 401k policy.

Communities: Salesforce provides employees with seven days of paid volunteer time annually, and matches up to $US5,000 in charitable donations.

Customers: It is “relatively free” of any customer-related controversies in its history.

8. Alphabet Inc. — Tech company in Mountain View, California

Workers: Alphabet is a leader in compensation, benefits, and career opportunities. BrightScope determined that it has an industry-leading 401k plan.

Environment: Alphabet’s companies (primarily Google) score highly for their water, electricity, and fuel efficiency.

Jobs: It is an industry leader in the number of Americans employed.

7. Cisco Systems — Networking hardware company based in San Jose, California

Justin Sullivan/Getty

Products: Cisco is the overall leader in products. Its products and packaging is environmentally friendly and it recycles 99% of disassembled products.

Workers: Cisco leads its industry in worker safety and pay, as well as how it handles grievances and layoffs.

Communities: It has strict policies for not doing business with companies that abuse workers.

6. Accenture — Professional services company based in Dublin, Ireland

Environment: Accenture is first overall in this category, and received a perfect score from Sustainalytics for its energy sustainability initiatives across its global offices.

Workers: It set a 2020 goal to have women account for at least 40% of its workforce and 25% of its global managing directors. In 2016, more than half of its employees were non-white.

Customers: Accenture is a leader in truthful advertising and transparent sales policies.

5. IBM —  Cloud and cognitive computing company based in Armonk, New York

Communities: IBM is an industry leader in working with ethically sourced materials, and publicly reports supply chain audits.

Workers: IBM dedicated $US1 billion to employee training over the next four years.

Environment: It is an industry leader in protecting environmental resources it uses.

4. Microsoft — Tech company based in Redmond, Washington

Management and shareholders: Microsoft leads all companies for ethical management practices, including incentivizing “just behaviour” by tying half of executive bonuses to criteria like customer satisfaction and promoting diversity internally.

Workers: It is second overall and first in its industry for employee relations. Microsoft offers exceptional work-life balance with flexible scheduling, and pays fairly across all demographics.

Communities: Microsoft works with the United Nations by providing resources for human rights research, and publicly released a list of its top 100 ethical suppliers.

3. NVIDIA — Semiconductor and consumer tech company based in Santa Clara, California

Workers: Nvidia ranks first overall for its treatment of employees. It has achieved equal pay across demographics by conducting semi-annual pay analyses that measure 90 metrics. It has a generous parental leave policy: 22 weeks for mothers and 12 weeks for fathers, adoptive parents, and foster parents; all parents receive additional eight weeks of flexible work schedule.

Communities: Nvidia is tied for first in three of six criteria for community relations, including how it sources materials and deals with international governments.

Products: It ranks first overall for creating products that do not have a negative effect on the environment, and first in providing fair pricing to customers.

2. Texas Instruments — Semiconductor company based in Dallas, Texas

Courtesy of Texas Instruments

Products: Texas Instruments ranks first overall in this category. It has invested heavily in sustainability research and its “smart technology” services allow utility companies to cut energy use by up to 15%.

Workers: TI leads all companies for paying a living wage, and leads its industry for paying a fair wage. It also leads all companies for having non-discriminatory hiring, firing, and promoting.

Communities: While TI lags in domestic job creation, it’s at the head of the pack for community relations for all of its global offices.

1. Intel — Semiconductor company based in Santa Clara, California

Workers: Intel was far ahead of all other companies in terms of equal pay for particular positions, regardless of gender or any other demographic.

Communities: It ranked first in five of six criteria for community relations. Intel has strict guidelines for not working with companies that abuse employees or with countries that oppress their citizens. It also prioritises local suppliers for raw materials and resources.

Products: Seventy-five per cent of its packaging is sustainable, and the company is working toward full sustainability.

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