Business Ethics Magazine Names 100 Best Corporate Citizens for 2004

Business Ethics Magazine Names 100 Best Corporate Citizens for 2004

Business Ethics, a magazine focused on corporate responsibility, has released its rankings of the largest publicly traded companies based on social responsibility for 2004.

The annual listing, which uses social ratings compiled by KLD Research & Analytics of Boston, ranks Russell 1000 companies for excellence in corporate citizenship relative to seven stakeholder groups: stockholders, community, minorities and women, employees, environment, non-U.S. stakeholders and customers.

Fannie Mae earned the top spot for a variety of practices, but most notably for financing more than $240 billion in home mortgages for 1.6 million minority first-time home buyers in 2003, including a special program established with an Islamic financial institution to open up southern California’s real estate market to Muslims.

Procter & Gamble (No. 2) was lauded for its many humanitarian efforts, including creating technology that helps people in developing nations clean and disinfect water and its donations to help disadvantaged youth in Vietnam, to combat childhood malnutrition in India and to provide earthquake relief in Turkey.

Rounding out the top four were computer chip maker Intel and The St. Paul Companies, a Minnesota-based liability and property insurance firm.

Twenty-nine firms have made the list each of the last five years, including Procter & Gamble, which has been in the top five all five years, and Hewlett-Packard, which placed No. 8 this year and has been in the top ten all five years.

Other five-year firms include: Avon Products, Ecolab, Herman Miller, Modine Manufacturing, Pitney Bowes, Starbucks, Merck, Brady Corporation and Sonoco.

Business Ethics said the cutting-edge practices of winning firms offer model strategies for good corporate citizenship.

“In the end, the 100 Best Corporate Citizens list aims to make a simple point: excellence in business is about more than profits for shareholders – it’s about serving a variety of stakeholders well,” the magazine said in its summary of the survey’s results.

“To put it another way, it’s about having your good deeds outweigh your misdeeds,” the group said. “Judged against their peers among the nation’s largest public companies, these 100 companies have risen to the top. We think that’s worth applauding.”