What makes the most socially responsible companies in the US get ranked as socially responsible? Why is giving back to the society important? These companies engage in activities that benefit society. A company can be regarded as socially and environmentally conscious when it incorporates social responsibility into its business model. Today multinational companies have the power and resources which exceed those of small countries. They can influence the society through their global reach and influence. They can also become role models for smaller enterprises. Though a company’s primary purpose is to make profits for its shareholders, there are other important stakeholders which it needs to serve. These days CSR is considered as the most important factor that drives a company’s reputation and is also critical to its long-term share price. We have listed down some of these companies, several of which are also among 10 Most Respected and Admired Companies in America.
Climate change has become one of the biggest threats to mankind today. It is the responsibility of the large powerful multinationals to work hand in hand with various governments and take mitigation actions. CSR efforts are more likely to pay off in the long term. Many socially responsible companies in the US have taken up the climate cause and have decided to install solar, wind power to cut their carbon footprint.
Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management is a hedge fund that invests in sustainable businsses. They are of the opinion that sustainability investing is essential to creating long-term shareholder value. The team researched the history of sustainable investing before starting the fund. The fund expect to see opportunity in businesses that are involved with lower-carbon energy, including renewable energy provision, such as wind, solar, and cellulosic ethanol2 production. Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management held large stakes in Microsoft Corporation and Google Inc. – the top two most socially responsible companies in 2016.
Below is a list of 10 most socially responsible companies in the US. The list is based on research from the Reputation Institute which is a leading provider of reputation based research based in Boston and launched in 1997. The firm ranks these companies based on their performance, products/ services offered, innovation, workplace etc. and sums them up to make a RepTrak Pulse score.
10. Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)
Intel ranks 10th in our list of the 10 most socially responsible companies in the US. Intel’s CSR RepTrak score was 72.9 for 2016. The company fell two positions to the tenth spot compared to the previous year. The multinational technology corporation commits to ethical and legal business, the environment, human rights, and labor practices on a worldwide basis. Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) also addresses climate change issues by reducing PFC emissions and by improving the energy efficiency. The company also follows a water policy.
The Swiss luxury watchmaker ranks ninth on the list of 10 most socially responsible companies with a score of 73. Rolex recognizes individuals with talent and supports pioneering work in three areas: the environment, applied science and technology or exploration. The Rolex Awards for Enterprise entitles the winner with 100,000 Swiss francs, in addition to access to its network and international publicity. The program has received more than 33,000 applications from 190 countries worldwide.
8. Rolls Royce
Rolls Royce is a global company providing highly-efficient solutions in aerospace, marine, energy and off-highway applications. The company ranks eighth on the list of 10 most socially responsible companies in the US with a total score of 73.1. The company spent 9.7 million euros in 2015 on charitable contributions. It helps educational institutions to nurture science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. The company also has a “Rolls-Royce Science Prize” to promote fresh science teaching ideas. Rolls Royce is also taking energy efficiency initiatives including the installation of giant rooftop solar systems and up gradation of its lighting systems to LED lights globally.
7. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)
Apple ranks 7th in our list of the 10 most socially responsible companies in the US. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is regarded as one of the most valuable brands globally and has a presence in Americas, Europe, China, Japan and rest of Asia. The technological giant was awarded with a Clean Energy Index of 100%, according to Greenpeace’s Clicking Clean Report. The company supports local communities through its ‘Global Volunteer Program’ for employees. Apple is a big proponent of renewable energy that is powering approximately 90% of its global operations. It has also been appreciated for creating some of the world’s best energy efficient products. In addition the company also participates in various programs relating to water cleaning, recycling etc. The company’s CSR RepTrak score was 73.3.
6. Daimler AG (OTCMKTS:DDAIF)
Daimler is a multinational automotive company, headquartered in Germany. It is the thirteenth-largest car manufacturer and second-largest truck manufacturer in the world by unit sales. The company ranked sixth in our list of the 10 most socially responsible companies in the US with a CSR RepTrak score of 73.3. Daimler, which has consistently been featured in the top ten most socially responsible companies since 2013, supports various projects that focus on science, education, traffic safety, environment, arts and culture, community and charitable projects. The car-maker spent 60 million euros in 2015 as donations to non-profit institutions and on sponsorship for social projects.
The building block company was ranked as the fifth most socially responsible company in 2016 moving up from sixth position in the prior two years. The company had an overall score of 73.8. Lego was also named as the world’s most powerful brand by Brand Finance in 2015 and LEGO ranked 6th in the list of companies with the best reputation in 2016. More than 90% of waste from production sites is recycled and it uses sustainable material for construction of bricks. Lego has pledged to invest over $150 million over the next 15 years to make the toys more environment friendly and has hired at least 100 engineers for the same purpose. The company is also committed to sourcing 100% renewable energy by 2020.
BMW ranks fourth in our list of 10 most socially responsible companies in the US. The German company is one of the best-selling luxury automakers in the world. The company is one of the most open and transparent in its business dealings. Though the company engages in manufacturing products that are the responsible for polluting the environment, it makes sure to embed CSR as an important strategy element. BMW has ranked consistently in the top three as the most socially responsible company since 2013. With a total RepTrak CSR score of 73.9 the company took the fourth position in 2016. BMW focuses on education, community and arts as part of its CSR.
3. The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS)
The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) is one of the world’s leading entertainment providers. The company, with a RepTrak CSR score of 74.7 in 2016, has also been featured in the top three since 2013. Walt Disney has also ranked in the top 5 most reputable companies for the past three years, known for its ethical business practices. The company contributes heavily to charity, with an increased focus on natural disasters. Walt Disney has planted three million trees in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, protected 40,000 acres of coral reef in the Bahamas, and conserved 50,000 acres of savanna wildlife corridors in Africa. Moreover, it established “The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund”, on Earth Day in 1995. The Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment team helps connect its guests with nature and animals and inspire them to positively impact the environment.
2. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is an American multinational company based in Redmond, Washington and R&D facilities all around the world. The company made a comeback as the second largest socially responsible company in 2016 with a total score of 75.1 after being ranked as fourth in the previous year. The company ranked second in 2014 and first in 2013. Microsoft engages with hundreds of youth serving in non-profit organizations and gives back to the society through its various programs like YouthSpark and Employee Giving Campaign. It also launched Office 365 for non-profit organizations in 92 countries around the world. The company has also ventured into renewable energy. Microsoft was the top holding of Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management fund, which owned an $874 million stake at the end of the third quarter.
1. Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG)
Google is America’s second largest multinational company based in San Francisco Bay Area, California. Google was named as the most valuable brand of 2016 by Forbes. Google is considered to be an appealing place to work and also treats its people well. As a part of their CSR activities, Google supports various tech-based entrepreneurs working towards a human cause. The company has donated billions of dollars in grants and apps and has also allowed its employees to volunteer for non-profit organizations. The company also entered the clean energy sector by investing in various solar projects since 2010.Google has been ranked as the top socially responsible company for the last three years in a row now. With a score of 75.4, Google scored the highest in seven out of the 15 markets measured.