The Best Corporate Citizens in Financial Performance

On the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.By Selena Maranjian, The Motley Fool

Like most investors, you probably aim for the best possible return when picking potential investments. But as consumers increasingly clamor for companies to embrace social responsibility, good corporate citizenship is fast becoming a vital part of any business or stock's success.

Corporate Responsibility magazine recently released its "100 Best Corporate Citizens" list, in which it rated members of the Russell 1000 large-cap index on more than 300 different elements related to responsible behavior. In recent weeks, I've delved into six of the seven categories that contribute to a company's overall score: Environment, Climate Change, Human Rights, Philanthropy, Employee Relations, and Governance.

Today, we'll look at financial performance, which receives a 12.5% weighting. Among the overall top 100 companies, here are the 10 with the best financial ratings:
  • Cummins (CMI)
  • Lubrizol (LZ)
  • Philips-Van Heusen (PVH)
  • TJX (TJX)
  • Starbucks (SBUX)
  • Nike (NKE)
  • Union Pacific (UNP)
  • Ball (BLL)
  • Oracle (ORCL)
  • Occidental Petroleum (OXY)
To earn relatively high financial scores, these companies needed to post numbers that serve their stakeholders well, including reporting positive income, paying dividends, sporting a positive current ratio, and posting a positive three-year stock return.

Check them out in a little more detail:


Dividend Yield

Current Ratio

3-Yr. Avg. Annual Return

Cummins 1.0% 1.9 25.9%
Lubrizol 1.1% 3.5 32.9%
Philips-Van Heusen 0.2% 2.0 22.1%
TJX 1.5% 1.6 18.8%
Starbucks 1.4% 1.7 26.5%
Nike 1.6% 3.2 6.8%
Union Pacific 1.5% 1.2 14.5%
Ball 0.8% 1.7 13.4%
Oracle 0.7% 2.9 16.9%
Occidental Petroleum 1.9% 1.7 8.1%

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

That isn't enough information on which to base a decision to buy, so dig a little deeper into the companies that interest you. Engine specialist Cummins has robust profit margins, as do Occidental Petroleum and Union Pacific. Philips-Van Heusen sports a 15% average annual revenue growth rate, which is rather impressive for an apparel company. After downsizing a bit, Starbucks is on the upswing again, growing revenue and earnings.

Nike's stock may not seem like a bargain right now, but the company is performing well, particularly in emerging markets, and it bears watching. Oracle is a longtime grower, and its massive cash hoard could help the company benefit from rising interest rates.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Starbucks. Nike and Starbucks are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. The Fool owns shares of Oracle and Starbucks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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May 29 2011 at 12:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where's Goldman Sachs? They're at the top of the other list.

April 18 2011 at 5:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply