by Larry Bingaman
Quarterly earnings alone can no longer determine the success of corporate America – such assessment is shortsighted and has proven harmful to the well being of our economy and those who support it. According to Paul Tudor Jones1, “…we as a society have come to view our companies and corporations in a very narrow, almost monomaniacal fashion with regard to how we value them, and we have put so much emphasis on profits, on short-term quarterly earnings and share prices, at the exclusion of all else. It’s like we’ve ripped the humanity out of our companies.”
Stark words that hold much truth. Why do we as a society check our values and purpose at the door before entering the workplace? Why do we in the US have the greatest income inequality and the greatest social problems?1 What are we doing to reverse this trend of unjust behavior in our corporations and companies?
I agree with Paul Tudor Jones – we must hold all companies accountable.1 Through Tudor Jones’ JUST 100: America’s Best Corporate Citizens in 20162, he does JUST that. His research team surveyed 50,000 Americans on corporate behavior, ranking the largest 897 publically-traded companies within their industries according to the following 10 metrics: worker pay and benefits, worker treatment, supply chain impact, community well-being, domestic job creation, product attributes, customer treatment, leadership and ethics, environmental impact, and investor alignment.3
Interestingly, each of these metrics align with three of the four tenants of Conscious Capitalism, a business philosophy stating that business should exist to elevate humanity through higher purpose, conscious leadership, conscious culture, and stakeholder orientation. Of note, the JUST 100 study does not seem to capture whether the company embraces a higher purpose. It will be interesting to see if this driver is added as the study matures.
Three of the JUST 100 companies are headquartered here in Connecticut:
- FactSet Research Systems, Inc, ranking #2 out of 23 Consumer & Diversified Finance companies;
- Cigna, ranking #2 out of 27 Health Care Providers & Services companies; and
- Terex, ranking #2 out of 32 Machinery companies.
In FactSet’s category of Consumer & Diversified Finance companies, American Express ranked first while Capital One Financial ranked third. FactSet’s JUST Strengths included worker pay and benefits, paying its workers above the industry average and having the employees themselves highly rate company benefits such as healthcare, paid time off, and free working lunch in its offices. Additional strengths included investor alignment and domestic job creation.4
In the rankings, Cigna was preceded by Humana and followed by Anthem. Its JUST Strengths include worker treatment, environmental impact, and investor alignment. According to the company’s JUST Capital report, “The company shows good performance in serving the interests of employees, communities, suppliers, and the environment, as well as investors.” Its noted that Cigna focused intently on employee diversity and inclusion with over 1,400 clinical staff participating in Culture Diversity Forums in 2015 and 2016, and it has provided more than $5.6 million in funding through Educational Reimbursement Program.5
Terex, which was sandwiched in the rankings between first place Cummins and third place Deere, won the category for worker treatment as a result of its commitment to diversity and inclusion. While additional JUST Strengths include domestic job creation and product attributes, it is noted that the company was outperformed by peers in supply chain impact, citing the need to enhance management of the social impact of its supply chain.6
While we should be proud of these three corporations for their commitment to just behavior, I propose we should be calling on all Connecticut companies to commit to uphold a similar level of “justness.” A commitment to justness and Conscious Capitalism would no doubt benefit our employees, our customers, our companies, our communities, and the economic well being of our state.
If you want to learn more about the JUST 100 or Connecticut’s Conscious Capitalism Chapter, which seeks to engage, educate, and inspire leaders to practice Conscious Capitalism so they can make a positive impact on their business or organizations and its people, then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Larry Bingaman is the president & CEO of the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority (RWA). Since 2009, he has been keenly focused on RWA’s sustainable and conscious business practices that maintain and grow the region’s rich natural resources to create new opportunities. He is deeply involved in the New Haven community, serving as a founding board member of the Connecticut Chapter of Conscious Capitalism, chairman of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, member of the Gateway President’s Advisory Council, and member of the Business Advisory Council at Southern Connecticut State University.
- Tudor Jones, P. (2015, April). Paul Tudor Jones: Why we need to rethink capitalism [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/paul_tudor_jones_ii_why_we_need_to_rethink_capitalism
- JUST Capital, Retrieved from https://justcapital.com
- Whittaker, M. (2016, November 30). The Just 100 Methodology: How The Rankings Work. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/martinwhittaker/2016/11/30/the-just-100-methodology-how-the-rankings-work/#572dfd4643ed
- JUST Capital, Retrieved from https://dataexplorer.justcapital.com/pdfs/FDS.pdf
- JUST Capital, Retrieved from https://dataexplorer.justcapital.com/pdfs/CI.pdf
- JUST Capital, Retrieved from https://dataexplorer.justcapital.com/pdfs/TEX.pdf