Best reputations: Just 2 on top 100

Posted: April 14, 2013

Just two of the 100 "best corporate citizens" are Philly 50 companies: Campbell Soup and DuPont.

What separates the best corporate citizens from the worst? Corporate Responsibility Magazine, which has published the list for the last 14 years, says the answer is "accountability."

Although that sounds awfully subjective, the list is based on publicly available information from the companies themselves, regulatory agencies, or other sources.

The magazine, which calls itself CR for short, says each company is evaluated on 298 pieces of data from seven categories, carrying different weights to produce a total score. The categories are: employee relations (19.5 percent weighting), environmental (19.5 percent), climate change (16.5 percent), human rights (16 percent), financial (12.5 percent), philanthropy (9 percent), and corporate governance (7 percent).

The company with the highest weighted score was AT&T Inc., followed by Mattel Inc. Campbell Soup ranked No. 9, while DuPont was No. 16.

Other companies with significant operations in the Philadelphia region that made the grade were: Merck & Co. Inc. (No. 8), Johnson & Johnson (No. 17), Lockheed Martin Corp. (No. 51), Dow Chemical Co. (No. 70), Boeing Co. (No. 85), and Exelon Corp. (No. 99).

For Campbell Soup, 2013 marks the third year it has cracked the top 10. It finished No. 8 in 2012 and No. 2 in 2011.

The 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking is what's considered a "reputational" list, but CR doesn't shy from disclosing those who fall from grace.

The magazine issues yellow cards - a la soccer - to companies that make its list, but sustained some reputational damage. In 2013, Abbott Laboratories, Carnival Corp., and JPMorgan Chase & Co. all received yellow cards, indicating caution.

Some receive red cards, which call for expulsion from the list. Amgen Corp. was carded after pleading guilty in a federal case involving its improper marketing of the drug Aranesp.

Getting dropped from such a list is no big whoop, right? Well, it is when the list is designed to showcase accountability, and your company has just been booted for a serious lapse in it.

Those who study corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports say that financial analysts and investors are paying more attention to what was once considered "intangible" because of the impact reputational damage can have on a company's stock price.

According to the Governance & Accountability Institute, 53 percent of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index now disclose information about their environmental, social, and governance issues.

Voluntary CSR reports can be excruciatingly detailed, or read like public relations fluff. Still, they are worth a look to learn how companies view their corporate citizenship.


Contact Mike Armstrong

at 215-854-2980 or marmstrong@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @PhillyInc.

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