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Ranking offers reminder: Responsibility isn't just about environment

Posting in Environment

Factors such as community relations and employee policy are just as much a part of sustainability as the green movement.

A new ranking of corporate responsibility activities among pretty darn big public companies is a great reminder that overall sustainability is about much more than just environmental sensitivity or just about your company's position on climate change. More on that in a second, but first, some more information about this particular list and how companies are selected for inclusion.

First off, this is the 12th year this ranking has been published by Corporate Responsibility Magazine. The data used to make the choices is all publicly available and it centers on the following thematic areas: Environment, Climate Change, Human Rights, Employee Relations, Corporate Governance, Philanthropy and Financial performance.

An interesting note: a non-response for certain elements that make up the ranking was actually a worse score than a response. So, next time you decide to keep something to yourself think about the implications of that action. I've also noticed that Greenpeace is usually harder on companies that hide things, as well. On this ranking, there are a number of companies that show up despite earning yellow or red flags for "self-caused reputational damage." This year, for example, the No. 6 company, 3M, made the list even the state of Minnesota filed a suit against the company in December 2010 alleging that 3M polluted more than 100 square miles of groundwater over the course of the past 50 years. Should be interesting to see what happens for next year's list.

In any event, here is the 2011 Top 10 list:

  1. Johnson Controls
  2. Campbell Soup
  3. IBM
  4. Bristol-Myers Squibb
  5. Mattel
  6. 3M
  7. Accenture
  8. Kimberly-Clark
  9. Hewlett-Packard
  10. Nike

If you look at a couple of the different sub-categories on their own, you get a couple of almost completely different lists, so I will share the top 5 of two here for grins.

Environment Factors

  1. IBM
  2. Johnson Controls
  3. Baxter International
  4. Intel
  5. HP

Climate Change Factors

  1. IBM
  2. Johnson Controls
  3. Campbell Soup
  4. Excelon
  5. E.I.Dupont De Nemours

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure