Across the U.S., sustainability has become a priority in many areas.
To create the rankings, Calvert analyzed the 1,000 largest publicly held U.S. companies (by stock market value) and scored them on more than 200 key indicators and 28 issues.
Calvert then sorted the data into five key categories: shareholders, employees, customers, planet, and community.
In a tough 2018, in which the S&P 500 lost 4.2% and the Russell 1000 fell 4.6%, the 100 most sustainable companies on our list lost 3.2%. Calvert Research and Management, the sustainability powerhouse owned by Eaton Vance (EV), compiled Barron’s list, basing the rankings on hundreds of metrics that address environmental, social, and corporate governance, or ESG, factors.
There are significant changes in the top 10 from last year, including the entry of Voya, and Best Buy’s ascent to No. 1 from third last year. You might notice that some of the top companies are headquartered in California. That makes sense: The state is home to tough environmental regulations and governance initiatives. “You can’t say it’s causal, but it’s explanatory,” Streur says.
The lowest overall score in the universe was 27; the median was 55. The average score for the best 100 was 66.6, leaving room for improvement. What’s more, the best 100 scored marginally worse than the previous year’s, which averaged 68.7. While scores rose as companies boosted diversity, says Calvert analyst Chris Madden, Calvert also increased penalties for companies with late filings, restatements, or other actions that could concern shareholders.