Frequently Asked Questions

What is the 2021 methodology?

Click here to download the 100 Best Corporate Citizens of 2021 ranking methodology, including year-over-year changes from 2020, the complete list of factors considered for 2021 and an outline explaining how we process the ranking.

3BL Media creates the methodology based on the latest developments in corporate sustainability, extensive feedback from corporate and NGO stakeholders and guidance from Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) ESG. Our goal is to ensure the methodology advances ESG transparency and performance each year using factors relevant to all industries.

There are eight pillars in the ranking, each comprising a set of factors (e.g. the Employees pillar contains 34 factors and is weighted 20.5% overall). Each pillar weight is publicly disclosed, but the weight of each specific factor isn’t disclosed to ensure the ranking methodology cannot be replicated.

3BL Media builds its custom methodology with factors carefully selected from the ISS ESG E&S Disclosure QualityScore and Governance QualityScore. The intent is to reduce the administrative burden on companies to verify data and information for the 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking since they are already doing so for the ISS ESG E&S and Governance QualityScores.

We welcome feedback on our methodology. Please complete the contact form at the bottom of the website.

Is there an application, survey or questionnaire?

No. 3BL Media develops the methodology and our partner ISS ESG researches and ranks all Russell 1000 companies (except tobacco companies) using only publicly available data and information. Russell 1000 companies are the 1,000 largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. equity market.

Is there a fee or a cost?

No. All Russell 1000 companies (except tobacco companies) are researched and ranked at no cost. Also, there’s no cost for Russell 1000 companies to verify data and information collected by ISS ESG.

Email ESGHelpdesk@iss-esg.com to request online portal access and add users to verify information and data for the ranking.

What are the pillars and factors the ranking is based on?

The 2021 ranking methodology consists of eight pillars containing 146 factors. The weighting of each pillar is publicly available (see below), however, the weight of each individual factor is not so that the ranking cannot be replicated.

Factors look for specific types of ESG disclosures including: data, management approach, performance, policies and codes, strategy and targets. Factors used to determine the ranking must be applicable and relevant to all Russell 1000 Index companies to enable a fair comparison. 

I. Climate Change (Weight: 18.0% | Number of Factors: 23)

  • Topics include: management’s role; performance; policy; risk and opportunity; strategy; targets; water

II. Employees (Weight: 20.5% | Number of Factors: 34)

  • Topics include: diversity, equity and inclusion; healthcare benefits; occupational health and safety

III. Environment (Weight: 18.0% | Number of Factors: 27)

  • Topics include: energy; greenhouse gas emissions; policy; suppliers; waste

IV. ESG Performance (Weight: 8.0% | Number of Factors: 2)

  • Topics include: controversies assessment; managing ESG risk and seizing opportunities

V. Financial (Weight: 4.5% | Number of Factors: 9)

  • Topics include: board of directors; climate scenario planning; executive remuneration; performance

VI. Governance (Weight: 7.5% | Number of Factors: 16)

  • Topics include: anti-corruption training; board diversity and ESG and human rights oversight

VII. Human Rights (Weight: 11.0% | Number of Factors: 18)

  • Topics include: code of vendor conduct; labor rights; risk; supplier non-conformance and corrective action

VIII. Stakeholders and Society (Weight: 12.5% | Number of Factors: 17)

  • Topics include: community involvement; climate policy lobbying, political advocacy; stakeholder consultation and guidance implementation

To view the specific factors within each pillar, click here to download the 2021 methodology.

Does the 2021 ranking account for corporate responses to the COVID-19 pandemic?

The 2021 methodology includes numerous factors that can be compared equitably across Russell 1000 companies and address various social issues to emerge during the pandemic. Examples include:

  • Does the company provide healthcare insurance?
  • Does the company state a commitment to a fair or living wage for all employees?
  • Does the company disclose information on management systems used to integrate a culture of safety and emergency preparedness?
  • What is the quality and transparency of the company’s community involvement initiatives and contributions including objectives, programs, monitoring and evaluation, and spend?
  • Does the company indicate that it applies the same human rights policy standards to suppliers/vendors?
  • Does the company have an audit program in place to evaluate its suppliers’ performance in the area of human rights?
Does the ranking account for diversity and equity?

Yes. In the Employees pillar, 21 of 34 factors address diversity and equity and in the Governance pillar, three of 16 factors address diversity and equity. To see the specific factors, download the 2021 methodology.

Complete the contact form at the bottom of this website to provide feedback on the methodology.

Does the ranking account for climate change policy engagement?

Yes. In the Stakeholders and Society pillar, eight of 17 factors address political advocacy transparency.

For the 2021 ranking, the nonprofit, InfluenceMap, will screen companies to identify whether or not their lobbying is supportive or oppositional to Paris Agreement-aligned policy benchmarks. InfluenceMap welcomes engagement with corporations. Engagement can involve explanation of their methodology in more detail, how InfluenceMap assess a company and your contributions of information you think InfluenceMap may have missed. Email info@influencemap.org to connect.

Research and advocacy from leading nonprofits including CDP, Ceres and EDF+Business, and from investors, substantiates that the 100 Best Corporate Citizens methodology account for oppositional lobbying to Paris Agreement-aligned policies.

Download the 2021 methodology and reference pages three, 10 and 14 for more information.

What are the industries?

Companies in the Russell 1000 Index are divided into 24 industry groups for the 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking:

Automobiles & Components; Banks; Capital Goods; Commercial & Professional Services; Consumer Durables & Apparel; Consumer Services; Diversified Financials; Energy; Food & Staples Retailing; Food & Beverage; Healthcare Equipment & Services; Household & Personal Products; Insurance; Materials; Media & Entertainment; Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology & Life Sciences; Real Estate; Retailing; Semiconductor & Semiconductor Equipment; Software & Services; Technology Hardware & Equipment; Telecommunication Services; Transportation; Utilities.

How is the ranking calculated and processed once the factors are researched?

Calculating the Ranking

Three types of factors are used in the ranking, examples include:

1. Disclosure: Does the company’s climate change disclosure specifically address climate change risks?

2. Policy: Does the company indicate it applies the same human rights policy standards to suppliers and vendors?

3. Performance: Does the company’s climate change disclosure specifically address climate change performance?

Data and information takes three forms to process the ranking:

1. Binary: ‘True’ counts as a positive value; ‘False’ and ‘Black/Not Provided’ count as neutral weight.

2. Numeric: Numeric values compare to all other company numeric value to generate a ranking; Non-reporters rank worse than the worst numerical respondent in any factor.

3. Qualitative: ‘Full credit’ for robust disclosures; ‘Partial credit’ for insufficient disclosures; ‘Blank / Not Provided’ rank worse than the worst ‘Partial Credit’ respondent.

Processing the Ranking

1. Weight each individual factor within a pillar. Some factors have higher relative weights.

2. Calculate the underlying score for each pillar, then rank the full Russell 1000 Index within that pillar in ascending order, ‘1’ is the best rank.

3. Apply the pillar weightings to generate an overall weighted average ranking for each company. The higher the weighted average, the better a company’s ranking.

4. When several company scores tie, there is a gap between that score and the next closest score. For example, if two companies tie for the top rank, the company or companies that earned a second-place rank will place third. Second place is sacrificed for the tie-gap, so third is the next available rank after the tie-gap.

5. The controversy score (part of the ESG Performance pillar) is applied. If ISS ESG identifies a Severe or Very Severe controversy, the company is penalized 10 points on its final, overall weighted score and the overall weighted score is adjusted accordingly. Controversy penalties are not publicly disclosed in the final ranking.

6. The lobbying screen is applied. InfluenceMap will measure the intensity of company lobbying and whether this lobbying is supportive or oppositional to Paris Climate Agreement-aligned policy benchmarks. Companies with high lobbying intensity receive a “red flag”. Companies to receive a “red flag” are penalized 10 points on their final, overall weighted score and the overall weighted score is adjusted accordingly. The “red flag” and subsequent penalty are not publicly disclosed in the ranking.

What time period does the ranking consider for data?

Data and information used in the 100 Best Corporate Citizen of 2021 ranking is from the year in between annual data verification deadlines. For the 2021 ranking, the time period is March 13, 2020 to March 19, 2021.

What is the 2021 timeline?

Nov. 23, 2021: Russell 1000 companies receive an email from 3BL Media with the 2021 methodology, including year-over-year changes from 2020 and the complete list of factors considered for the ranking. Additional email reminders are sent 12/14/20, 01/11/21, 02/08/21 and 03/01/21. 

The email comes from 100best@3blmedia.com — please ensure this address is accepted by your IT security so emails do not go to spam and junk folders.

March 19, 2021, 8:00 p.m. PST: Deadline for Russell 1000 companies to verify data and information for 100 Best Corporate Citizens of 2021. If you plan to make new source material publicly available in time to be considered for the ranking, please know ISS ESG requires at least five business days to review new materials. 

May 18, 2021, 5:00 a.m. EDT: 3BL Media announces the 100 Best Corporate Citizens of 2021.

Was the ranking previously named Corporate Responsibility (CR) Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens?

Yes. The 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking was first published in 1999 in Business Ethics Magazine and then by Corporate Responsibility Magazine from 2007 to 2019. In 2017, 3BL Media acquired Corporate Responsibility Magazine. In 2019, 3BL Media made the difficult decision to retire the Corporate Responsibility Magazine print and digital publication but to continue the 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking.

Who can I contact with questions and feedback?

Please complete the contact form at the bottom of the website or email 100best@3blmedia.com with questions and feedback about the methodology.

Email ESGHelpdesk@iss-esg.com to request ISS ESG online portal access to verify information and data considered for the ranking.

Can my company opt out of consideration for the ranking?

No. All Russell 1000 Index companies (except tobacco companies) are evaluated for the 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking. Russell 1000 Index companies are the 1,000 largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. equity market.

What types of companies are researched and ranked?

3BL Media’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranks the Russell 1000 Index, excluding tobacco companies. Russell 1000 companies are the 1,000 largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. equity market.

Privately held and non-U.S. companies are not part of our research scope. Enterprise companies are considered for the ranking but not brands (e.g. Kimberly-Clark Corporation is considered for the ranking but not Huggies, one of its brands.)

Where does the data used in the 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking come from, and how is it collected?

ISS ESG researches publicly available disclosures, policies and performance on ESG topics. This data is collected using industry-standard research methodologies and is primarily sourced from online information made available by companies through primary corporate websites, reports (e.g. 10-K reports and annual sustainability or CR reports), statements and policies. Public websites of subsidiary companies and brands are not considered for the ranking.

To supplement corporate data, information is also retrieved from reliable third parties, including: CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project); GRI (Global Reporting Initiative); UN Global Compact; U.S. EPA EnviroFacts and Toxics Release Inventory and other government agencies; Compustat and FactSet for financial information; select NGOs and professional organizations.

Who is ISS ESG?

ISS ESG is the responsible investment research and advisory arm of Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS). ISS ESG provides corporate research to institutional investors according to different sustainability criteria, covering environmental, social and corporate governance standards. ISS ESG data is used to support the 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking, Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management, Eaton Vance and others.

How will ISS ESG use the data it collects?

ISS ESG applies its environmental, social and governance research to solutions that allow investment managers to screen, rate and rank companies based on criteria defined by the user. In turn, this data is applied by investment professionals to evaluate opportunities, identify risks and comply with a broad range of investment guidelines and client concerns.

How can information and data researched by ISS ESG be reviewed?

Data verification is done through an online data verification portal run by ISS ESG. There is no cost to verify data with ISS ESG for the ranking. At any time, please contact ESGHelpdesk@iss-esg.com to request access to your data verification portal or additional company logins.

There are factors used for the 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking methodology that cannot be verified because the data source is a third party used by ISS ESG (e.g. data from CDP or financial information from FactSet or Compustat) or ISS ESG conducts the research but the factor is not yet part of the E&S Disclosure QualityScore or Governance QualityScore. In the ranking methodology, these factors are marked “N/A” in the “ISS ESG Factor ID” column. 

When is the deadline to verify data and information researched by ISS ESG?

Companies can verify data and information researched by ISS ESG at any time during the year. The deadline to verify data and information used for the 100 Best Corporate Citizens of 2021 ranking is 8:00 p.m. PST on March 19, 2021. Data and information used for the 100 Best Corporate Citizens must be publicly available through websites, reports, policies, etc.

If you plan to make new source material available publicly, ISS ESG needs at least five business days to review. New source material submitted on March 19, 2021, will not be reviewed by ISS ESG in time to be considered for the 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking. If you plan to make new source material available in time for the ranking, please do so by Thursday, March 11, 2021, to give ISS ESG adequate time to review.

What’s the deadline to submit new source or reference materials to ISS ESG?

If you plan to make new source material available publicly, ISS ESG needs at least five business days to review. New source material submitted on March 19, 2021, will not be reviewed by ISS ESG in time to be considered for the 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking. If you plan to make new source material available in time for the ranking, please do so by Thursday, March 11, 2021, to give ISS ESG adequate time to review.

What if my company disagrees with any information, data or rating found on the ISS ESG online platform?

A company can review the data collected by ISS ESG, submit any necessary corrections and offer supporting links to publicly available information. This process is free and available online. ISS ESG will review your request and make any changes that are consistent with ISS ESG’s methodology and definitions. 

Contact ESGHelpdesk@iss-esg.com to request access to your data verification platform or additional company logins. Please note: ISS ESG may contact your company to clarify verification comments.

How do I submit data and information changes to ISS ESG?

After you review the data collected, all submissions are made through the ISS ESG online data verification platform. Please contact ESGHelpdesk@iss-esg.com to request access to this platform or additional company logins.

Can we provide our most recent CR or sustainability report or policies?

ISS ESG is happy to receive any reports or data you wish to send. However, ISS ESG will have already reviewed your corporate responsibility (CR), ESG or sustainability report as part of its research process. The information you can verify includes data and management approaches found on your corporate website, in SEC documents or in your company’s  CR or sustainability reports. 

If you plan to make new source materials publicly available, please know ISS ESG needs at least five business days to review new materials. For the 2021 ranking, new source materials submitted on March 19, 2021, will not be reviewed by ISS ESG in time to be considered for the ranking. If you plan to make new source materials available in time for the ranking, please do so by Thursday, March 11, 2021, to give ISS ESG adequate time to review. Email ESGHelpdesk@iss-esg.com to request an updated profile containing the new source information.

Can researchers access the entire Russell 1000 ranking?

Researchers and academics are welcome to analyze the 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking but we do not provide the complete Russell 1000 ranking to any parties, even under a non-disclosure agreement.

Visit Past Rankings to download 100 Best rankings dating back to 2009.

Who at 3BL Media do I contact with questions and feedback?

Please complete the contact form at the bottom of this website to submit questions and feedback. 

What was the 2019 and 2020 methodology?

Click here to download the complete list of factors used for the 100 Best Corporate Citizens of 2019, and click here to see the final 2019 ranking and methodology including year-over-year changes from 2018.

Click here to download the 2020 methodology including year-over-year changes from 2019.

How can my company promote its inclusion on the 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking?

For information on licensing the 100 Best Corporate Citizens logo and other promotional opportunities, please email: 100best@3blmedia.com.

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