I had the pleasure of interviewing Martin Whittaker, CEO of JUST Capital, for a PageConnect Corporate Purpose and Societal Value webinar.
JUST Capital, founded by a concerned group of leaders -- Paul Tudor Jones II, Deepak Chopra and Ariana Huffington -- is a non-profit organization that provides information and rankings on how large corporations perform on issues that matter most to the public, with supporting products and services created to help drive more just corporate behavior.
Through research, rankings, indexes and data-driven tools, JUST Capital measures corporate performance in the stakeholder economy and strives to “build a more just economy that better serves the needs of all stakeholders.”
As a research organization, JUST Capital "seeks to provide all of society’s stakeholders – employees, concerned citizens, business leaders and others -- with the information they need to assess how JUST companies are. By providing the right information and making it easy to access and understand, [JUST Capital] believes capital will flow to corporations that are more just, ultimately leading to a more balanced business world that takes into account human needs that are so often neglected today.”
One of their core products – the JUST 100 Index -- rates companies based on the issues Americans value most. By determining how these issues relate to corporate behavior, JUST Capital can help people make better informed decisions and create a more just marketplace. Read the list of 2020 rankings here.
One of the public’s main priorities is for companies to balance the needs of all stakeholders across five categories: employees, customers, communities, the environment and shareholders. JUST Capital is measuring companies’ performance in a variety of ways that are increasingly relevant; and companies are willing to act on this information because they recognize the public wants to buy from, work for and invest in just companies.
Martin realized the more influence JUST Capital had over investors, the better they could fulfill their mission. In 2016, JUST Capital launched the JUST Index, a flagship index which tracks the top 50% of companies in every industry in the Russell 1000. In 2018, Goldman Sachs launched the JUST ETF, “the first ever exchange-traded fund designed to align with the American public’s priorities for just business behavior.” The JUST ETF saw immediate success and was one of the most successful launches to date after just one day. Since its inception, the JUST ETF has outperformed its benchmark by over 500 basis points.
JUST Capital’s approach aligns with the key competencies of CCOs – specifically their stewardship of company culture and engagement in society as reported in Page’s recent report, The CCO as Pacesetter. Martin advocates for measuring stakeholder performance to evaluate a company’s societal impact. By aligning corporate behavior with Americans values, JUST Capital can help solve social, economic and environmental challenges.
Page members who would like to get more information about the rankings, their individual company and how to improve them, can contact the corporate engagement team at firstname.lastname@example.org.