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The 100 Best Corporate Citizens of 2021

3BL Media announces 2021's 100 Best Corporate Citizens rankings, recognizing ESG transparency and performance among the 1,000 largest U.S. public companies.
By Dave Armon
100 Best Corporate Citizens

Today, 3BL Media announces its annual 100 Best Corporate Citizens rankings, which recognize environmental, social and governance (ESG) transparency and performance within the 1,000 largest U.S. public companies.

For the third consecutive year, Owens Corning tops the list - and the Toledo, Ohio-based company is the first ever to do so. Rounding out the top five in the 100 Best Corporate Citizens rankings are General Mills, HP, Cisco and Intel.

Why does the 100 Best Corporate Citizens matter?

The coming decade will be pivotal if we are to achieve global climate and societal goals and rebuild a more inclusive and resilient economy. Achieving such outcomes depends on corporate leadership and transparency on ESG topics. To that end, think of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens as setting a standard for transparency that can help advance corporate accountability.

This year, 24 companies are new to the 100 Best; 14 of them are listed for the first time. The companies appearing for the first time are: AptarGroup, The AES Corporation, ON Semiconductor, Crown Holdings, Prologis, Walmart, Marathon Petroleum, Host Hotels & Resorts, Walgreens Boots Alliance, LyondellBasell Industries, Boston Scientific Corporation, Regeneron, Essential Utilities and Kilroy Realty Corporation.

Only 19 companies have made the rankings each year since 2009: 3M, Abbott, Accenture, Baxter, Bristol Myers-Squibb, Cisco, Colgate-Palmolive, Eaton, General Mills, Hess, IBM, Johnson Controls, Intel, Microsoft, Nike, PepsiCo, Gap, Weyerhaeuser and Xerox.

What determines these rankings?

The team at 3BL Media sets the 100 Best Corporate Citizens methodology, framed through measuring 146 ESG transparency and performance factors across eight pillars: climate change; employee relations; the environment; ESG performance; finance; corporate governance; human rights; and stakeholders and society.

In addition, several factors within the 2021 methodology account for the response to the various social issues that had emerged during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

When it comes time to start compiling these rankings, our research partner, ISS ESG, collects data and information from only public sources – not from questionnaires or company submissions. Further, there is absolutely no fee or costs for companies to be assessed or to verify ISS ESG’s research.

In addition, through 3BL Media’s partnership with InfluenceMap, an organization that maintains the world’s leading database of corporate lobbying on climate policy, this year’s rankings ensures that companies’ political activities are in alignment with the Paris Agreement.

The 100 Best Corporate Citizens rankings were first published in 1999 in Business Ethics Magazine and later by Corporate Responsibility Magazine from 2007 to 2019. 3BL Media has owned 100 Best Corporate Citizens since 2017, and we still rank companies within the Russell 1000 Index against sets of ESG transparency and performance factors, using only public data and information.

In the wake of the public health crisis and the calls for social justice during 2020, the demands for corporate transparency, accountability and leadership have never been louder. Here’s the reality: stakeholders at all levels are interested in how companies are working on issues from COVID-19 and climate change to systemic racism and voting rights. That is why in assessing this year’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens rankings, we now measure performance on these issues - and increase our scrutiny of political actions - so we can ensure that corporate citizenship is defined not only by these companies’ internal actions, but also their external lobbying efforts.

Image credit: Owens Corning/Facebook

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Dave Armon is the Chief Executive Officer of 3BL Media, which produces the 3BL Forum and ranks the 100 Best Corporate Citizens. A former journalist, Dave spent 20 years in management at PR Newswire, where he was president and COO.  

Read more stories by Dave Armon