Four companies from the Garden State, down from 2018’s seven, were named to the 2019 100 Most Sustainable U.S. Companies list from financial and investment news outlet Barron’s.
American Water Works and Campbell Soup Co. of Camden, Prudential Financial Inc. of Newark and Church & Dwight Co. of Ewing returned to the list of public companies, each edging their way up the ranks with the exception of Campbell who fell four spots.
Barron’s list, now in its second iteration, was compiled by Calvert Research and Management with rankings determined by metrics addressing environmental, social and corporate governance factors.
American Water ranked highest for New Jersey-based companies, coming in at No. 23 up from No. 36 last year. Prudential Financial jumped 19 spots to No. 28 for 2019, and placed second on a breakout list of the list’s highest-ranking financial companies. Church & Dwight came in at No. 46, up from its 2018 rank at No. 58.
While actions like increases in diversity boosted company scores, according to Barron’s, penalties were increased over the 2018 rankings for items that could concern shareholders. A bumpy year that included the loss of its chief executive officer and an attempted take-over of its board of directors could, then, shed some light on Campbell’s slight drop from No. 57 in 2018 to No. 61 on the list in 2019.
“Companies can be differentiated based on how well they manage their environmental and social impact, and the strength of their governance,” Calvert CEO John Streur told Barron’s. “The list shows who’s creating a better company, long term, for long-term investors.”
Calvert analyzed 1,000 public companies and scored them on over 200 indicators and 28 issues. Data was then sorted into five categories: shareholders, employees, customers, planet and community, and rated from zero to 100. A single rating was produced and weighted to reflect how relevant a contributing category is for the company’s industry. 2019’s median score was down to 66.6 percent, a decrease from last year’s 68.7 percent.
Companies that do not meet the Calvert Principles for Responsible Investment were excluded from the list.