Abercrombie & Fitch, Weight Watchers Land on Worst Companies List

Abercrombie & Fitch, Weight Watchers Land on Worst Companies List

When Corporate Responsibility magazine last month released its widely touted list of 100 Best Corporate Citizens, it was notable for who was at the top of the list -- Hewlett-Packard, Intel and General Mills in the top three -- as well as who was not.

As GreenBiz.com senior writer Marc Gunther wrote at the time:

Google challenges Internet censorship in China. It invests in solar power, electric cars, geothermal energy and the smart grid, and runs an array of programs to help its employees become more "green." It's consistently voted one of the best places to work. And it has an inspiring mission: to organize all of the world's information.

Yet Google doesn't even come close to making the 2010 list of 100 Best Corporate Citizens put together by CRO Magazine. [...] Nor does Timberland, a pioneer in corporate responsibility [...] GE, too, didn't make the cut.

Today, CR Magazine published its first-ever "Black List" of the 30 least transparent companies on the Russell 1000 Index. The new list, which is made of up 30 corporations about which no relevant data on the firms' financial, governance and human rights efforts, contains a number of firms that, perhaps unsurprisingly, often fly under the radar.

Among the notable companies on the list are clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, dieting empire Weight Watchers, tobacco company Lorillard and Bancorpsouth.

In a call with the media this morning, CR Magazine president and publisher Jay Whitehead called making the black list "the scarlet letter for corporate disrespect."

"What gets you on the black list?" Whitehead asked. "Share no data except that which is required to keep your public listing," including your company's carbon dioxide and water emissions, your Occupational Safety and Health Administration data, information about board member attendance, and other relevant data points.

The net impact of this fundamental lack of disclosure is its impact on these firms' bottom lines: The three-year returns for these companies averages -7.38 percent, compared with a +2.374 percent return rate for the companies in the top 100 list, and -5.4 percent for the entire Russell 1000 list.

This data "empirically, objectively and definitively proves that transparency is good for returns," Whitehead said.

With no further ado, the list of the 30 worst companies and their three-year returns, in alphabetical order.


Company 3-year Total Return (%) Abercrombie & Fitch Co. -19.04 Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. -10.01 Allied World Assurance Company Holdings Ltd 3.35 Allscripts-Misys Healthcare Solutions Inc. -9.16 Aptargroup Inc. 8.21 Axis Capital Holdings Ltd -2.79 Bancorpsouth Inc. -0.98 Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. 5.34 BOK Financial Corp. -3.06 Central European Media Enterprises -30.39 CTC Media Inc -14.7 Everest Re Group Ltd -2.32 Exco Resources, Inc. 7.96 Fidelity National Financial Inc -11.93 First American Corp -4.21 Fulton Financial Corp. -15.61 HCP Inc -0.77 Hospitality Properties Trust -10.91 IHS Inc 11.56 Lorillard Inc 11.86 RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd -2.33 RPM International, Inc. 2.69 Scientific Games Corporation -21.63 Scripps Networks Interactive Inc 7.36 SL Green Realty Corp. -24.77 Torchmark Corp. -10.59 W.R. Berkley Corp. -9.82 Weight Watchers International Inc. -15.89   Wesco Financial Corp -8.95 White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd. -15.82

More details about the Black List is available from TheCRO.com.

Abercrombie & Fitch photo CC-licensedy by Flickr user FaceMePLS.