It wasn’t very long ago, just 10 years at the most, when a typical CEO would answer questions about corporate social responsibility by saying that a company’s obligations are to make money, create jobs and obey the law. That’s it: do business and commit no crimes and you could rightly claim the mantle of good corporate citizen. Needless to say, standards, and attitudes, have changed.
Today, social responsibility means protecting the environment—not just obeying environmental laws. It means providing a dynamic, healthy and rewarding workplace, not just a paycheque. And as big business has globalized, it means respecting human rights and accepting the challenge to be an active force for good in the world. It’s a tall order. Amazingly, more and more major companies are living up to those standards.
Over the past year, we have heard from readers that they want more information about the ethical and environmental track records of the companies they buy from and invest in. To that end, Maclean’s, in partnership with Jantzi Research, this week presents our first-ever ranking of the most socially responsible companies operating in North America. Jantzi Research is an independent investment research firm that evaluates the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of global companies, and has emerged as one of the most rigorous and
An ethical investor’s toolbox 66 The Rankings: Energy 68 Automakers 69 Financial Services 70 Natural Resources 72 Retailers 74 Tech and Media 75 + Guide to SRI Funds 76
respected names in the burgeoning field of such research. Its clients include pension funds, money managers, foundations, religious orders, and now you—our readers.
The rankings are broken down into six industry groups, taking in the vast majority of the public markets and economy. In all, more than 100 companies were evaluated, and those listed here represent leaders in their peer groups. The companies have been assigned a letter grade, from A+ to C-, to correspond with the results on Jantzi’s proprietary set of over 100 indicators, grouped under the headings Community and Society; Corporate Governance; Customers; Employees; Environment; and Human Rights. In each area the firm assesses policies and management systems, programs and perform-
ance, relying on information gathered firsthand, and from research providers around the world, including Boston-based KLD Research & Analytics, Inc.
Obviously, it’s impossible to describe the entire sweep of a company’s commitment to social and environmental responsibility in just a few paragraphs. Instead, we’ve tried to provide a few of the highlights of the companies listed, and a basic sense of how they approach the key issues of concern to today’s investors, employees and customers.
It is also true that no company is perfect. Even these industry leaders have failings and blights on their record. Those weaknesses are reflected in the letter grades received, but not always in the write-ups that appear in the magazine. For more detailed information, we encourage you to go to Macleans.ca.
Finally, it’s important to remember that any evaluation reflects the priorities and values of the evaluator. Keeping that in mind, Maclean’s Senior Writer Jason Kirby has provided a toolbox for Canadians interested in doing their own research into corporate social Q responsibility, starting on page 66, and a o guide to the burgeoning world of “socially responsible” mutual funds on page 76. It’s Q more important than ever for Canadians to »/> know not only that their investments are ^ doing well, but that they are doing good. We ¡¡j hope this package of information will help ^ you do just that. By Steve Maich
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