Though in recent weeks the United States seems more divided than ever, there's something that both liberals and conservatives can agree on: corporate integrity matters, and it affects our purchasing, investing, and employment choices.
Independent nonprofit JUST Capital, founded in 2013, has partnered with Forbes to collaborate on assessing how the United States' largest corporations stack up in terms of the public's priorities. Together, they've compiled the first-ever edition of the JUST 100 -- a ranking of America's most just corporations, based on large-scale survey data from over 50,000 Americans of diverse political, economic, and social backgrounds.
Though the list won't appear in print until next week, a recent press release reveals some highlights from their survey data:
1. A fair wage is the #1 issue for most Americans. Across the board, survey respondents identified a fair wage as their top priority when deciding how just a company is. The second most important issue was non-discrimination in hiring, firing, and promotion.
2. Liberals and conservatives find common ground. The overwhelming majority of both liberals and conservatives said that they would use information on corporate behavior to drive their purchasing, investing, and employment choices: 90% of liberals and 82% of conservatives said that the information in the JUST survey was "likely" to affect their behavior as consumers.
3. The American public is losing faith in corporations' integrity. Overall, the survey painted a somewhat positive picture about the public's attitude towards corporations: 63% agreed with the statement that "what is good for business is good for the country." However, over half of respondents -- 56% -- believe that corporations have become less just in the past decade.
4. Millennials aren't the only ones who care about corporate integrity. When it comes to issues of fairness and social equality, Millennials are often at the forefront of discussion. However, the JUST survey found that Generation Xers and Baby Boomers were slightly more likely than Millennials to consider a company's justness as an important factor in driving their purchasing decisions.
The JUST 100 list -- which draws from a selection of 897 of the largest publicly traded US companies, taken from the Russell 1000 Index -- will be released on November 30th, in Forbes' upcoming "Impact and Philanthropy" issue.
Ultimately, if the survey results are any indication, lists like the JUST 100 will prove important to a corporation's success: with exceptionally high rates of respondents saying that a company's justness would affect their likeliness to buy from, invest in, or work for that company, there will be more reason than ever for corporations to uphold integrity as a core value.
"With the JUST 100 list, Forbes can help readers understand what standards Americans want to hold corporations to and how those corporations measure up," Forbes editor Randall Lane says.
Only time will tell -- but if rankings like the JUST 100 prove to be as impactful as the data suggest, they could have the power to shape how corporations handle their operations, and effect positive change in the world of business as a whole.