Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is no longer just a progressive perspective on how to run a business. When the USA Business Roundtable issued its August 19, 2019, statement redefining the purpose of corporations away from maximizing shareholder value to “promoting an economy that serves all stakeholders,” CSR became a central and powerful American business tenet. The 181 CEOs of America’s largest corporations who signed the statement, finally caught on to what early thought leaders in the field had already discovered—doing good for the people, products and places that their corporations touch is good for the community and the business.
CSR functions as a natural extension of Better’s mission to amplify social impact. As a logical next step, Better is highlighting some of the world’s top corporations that are leading the charge with their outstanding CSR. These companies have long been leaders in the field or have strong presences in the communities we serve. The following list includes percentage ratings that denote each company’s CSR/ESG rating by CSRHub when compared with 26,978 companies.
Consistently rated Top 10 by Working Mothers Magazine
The values embraced by this Chicago-based research- and innovation-focused biopharmaceutical company—driving innovation, transforming lives, embracing diversity and inclusion, acting with integrity, serving the community—ensure excellence not just with its products and patient care, but with all the constituencies it serves. In 2020, Abbvie donated substantial funds for paid researchers to investigate neglected diseases; collaborated with competitors and others in the medical field to get lower-cost products to underserved countries; donated $35 million to nonprofit partners to support Covid-19 relief efforts; continued to advance its multimillion dollar investment—announced in 2018—that provided $350 million to nine partner organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico that improve health systems and increase access to health care and made it possible for 84 percent of its global employee population to volunteer around the world. Learn more in AbbVie’s 2020 ESG Action Report.
“I’m donating to several charities, taking advantage of the Baxter International Foundation’s 2:1 match.” Read how John Powers & other Baxter employees are giving back to the community this #MLKDay: https://t.co/zJCOd3VAnn #PeopleOfBaxter #LifeAtBaxter #BaxterMLKDOS pic.twitter.com/uCB15sk9lA
— Baxter International (@baxter_intl) January 17, 2022
Through clearly stated goals and an annual reporting process, this Chicago-headquartered global supplier of health care products and services proves that it is executing ambitious CSR goals, including ethics and culture, climate change, community outreach and service, diversity, human rights, supply-chain sustainability, healthcare access and employee development. Learn more in Baxter’s 2020 Corporate Responsibility Report.
Ben & Jerry’s strives to have a progressive, nonpartisan social mission that seeks to meet human needs and eliminate injustices in our local, national, and international communities by integrating these concerns in their day-to-day business activities. Learn how Ben & Jerry’s uses its position to impact change.
Founders Doris and Don Fisher started Gap in 1969 with the intention of creating opportunities for the people and communities touched by their business. CSR was in their DNA before that term entered our lexicon. Now the global brand is tackling the waste found in fast fashion; using a transparent, sustainable supply chain; protecting endangered species; reducing energy usage and using energy that is 100 percent renewable; eliminating waste and tackling climate change. Learn more in Gap’s sustainability statement.
The Walt Disney Company’s belief in social responsibility as an investment toward future growth drives its compelling CSR position.
“Everything that bears our name … reflects our strong commitment to always act ethically, create content and products responsibly, maintain respectful workplaces, invest in communities, and be good stewards of the environment. Aligning our business objectives and strategy with our commitment to being good corporate citizens is … a business imperative,” said Christine McCarthy, senior executive vice president and chief financial officer of the Walt Disney Company.
In addition to several areas that the Walt Disney Company includes every year in its CSR program, the company took special care in 2021 to highlight their social and environmental stewardship efforts, including: response to the Covid-19 pandemic, increased emphasis on Diversity & Inclusion; and additional focus on the company’s new 2030 environmental goals. Learn more in the Walt Disney Company’s 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility Report.
Google strives to build sustainability and the best CSR practices into everything it does. This includes developing services and providing free tools that improve the lives of as many others as possible in a sustainable way; being the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy; founding [email protected] and other programs to ensure diversity and inclusion; and donating to social initiatives like Goodwill and the Equal Justice Initiative. Learn more about how Google is advancing sustainability in their commitment statement.
Patagonia boldly states that “it is in business to save the planet” by being an “activist company.” It promotes outstanding labor standards and working conditions throughout its supply chain. Furthermore, it’s promoting a living wage standard to others in the industry. Patagonia’s core business practices include working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, defending clean water and air, and divesting from dirty technologies—not just within their company, but around the world. Patagonia commits 1% of its total sales to environmental groups. Learn more about Patagonia’s commitment to activism here.
Starbucks sees social impact as core to its mission to be a welcoming and inclusive “Third Place” in every community it serves. Its annual report focuses on sustainability, strengthening communities and creating opportunities. This includes ethical practices and supporting the family farms and the regions that supply the beans. The company is proud to offer pay equity and it hires veterans, military spouses, refugees, Opportunity Youth and former prisoners. It offers all employees substantial benefits like health care and education that can help them move their lives forward. Recent CSR initiatives include playing a constructive role in supporting health and government officials as they worked to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Learn more in the 2020 Starbucks Global Environmental and Social Impact Report.
Target is consistently ranked as one of the most philanthropic companies in the United States. Some of the social initiatives Target embarked on in 2020 include: investing more than $1 billion in the health and well-being of their team members (employees); committing to spending more than $2 billion in black-owned businesses by the end of 2025; launching the disability and mental health business council; and signing new wind and solar power purchase agreements that will address approximately 22% of their electricity use. Learn more in Target’s 2020 Social Responsibility Report.
Social Impact is part of Visa’s commitment to advancing inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth for everyone, everywhere. Their focus is on driving initiatives that use the scale of their network, products, financial resources, and their collective expertise and commitment of their employees, to reach those traditionally underserved, providing them with access to resources that can help improve their economic livelihoods, businesses and communities. Visa is committed to digitally enable more than 50 million small and micro businesses worldwide by 2023. Visa met its goal to provide 500 million unbanked/underserved people access to digital payment accounts by 2020 and are continuing the work. And, Visa has had 85% of its employees give back to their communities. In fiscal year 2020, Visa contributed more than $23.5 million to charities around the globe, while Visa Foundation funded $22.7 million in grants. Learn more in Visa’s 2020 Social Impact Report.
Walgreens supports individuals in all communities across our country through their healthcare, wellness and vaccine initatives. Their Walgreens Boots Alliance, with a purpose to create more joyful lives through better health, was named as one of the top Corporate Citizens of 2021 by 3BL Media. Lead by Chief Executive Officer Rosalind Brewer, who was the first African-American to serve as COO of Starbucks, the alliance focuses on healthy communities, a healthy planet, a sustainable marketplace and an inclusive workplace.
Walgreens also teams up with the American Red Cross, and even is a proud sponsor of The Red Cross’ Heroes Awards, honoring the Global Citizenship Hero in 2021.
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Ann Marie Scheidler is a freelance writer who lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and five children. She tends to be where her kids are, but if you can’t find her there, she’s proudly supporting Beacon Place as one of its newest board members. Beacon Place is a nonprofit organization that has changed the lives of 4,000 children and families in Waukegan. Their innovative programs take a whole child and family approach to education, enrichment and healthy lifestyles support.