I’m excited to announce that Symantec has again ranked on CR Magazine’s “100 Best Corporate Citizens for 2019” list, landing at #49. The rating, now it its 20th year, ranks every company on the Russell 1000 Index using only publicly disclosed information around 98 environmental, social and governance factors. The research is conducted by an independent rating agency and ranking is based on disclosure and performance in categories such as Carbon and Climate; Labor, Health, and Safety; and Stakeholders and Society.
While we’re thrilled to again be listed among other leading companies on an important rating, if you’ve been following along on our corporate responsibility (CR) journey, you’ll notice that our ranking went down in 2019. In 2018, Symantec was #18 on this list and we think it’s important to talk about both our successes and challenges.
Let’s start with areas where we improved. In 2018, we ranked #85 in the Human Rights category, and in 2019 we moved up to #35. At Symantec, our mission is to make the world a better, safer place for everyone. LGBTQ equality is part of our human rights focus and in addition to scoring well in this category on the “100 Best Corporate Citizens”rating, we were also named to Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index for the eleventh consecutive year. Symantec had another perfect score this year, even with the higher bar set by HRC, and we are proud to again be a “Best Place for Work” for LGBTQ equality.
Our human rights work also includes protecting privacy as a fundamental human right. Protecting personal data – whether our own, our customers’, or our partners’ is a vital part of our corporate responsibility. We’ve seen that keeping personal data confidential and secure can help prevent human rights violations by protecting vulnerable individuals and communities.
If misused, personal information, like location from a GPS signal or phone conversations and texts, can put people at risk (think journalists, dissidents, activists, etc.).
I’m proud that Symantec has been recognized for standout performance among US public companies across 98 environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics. Our leadership on this list demonstrates success in building a company that not only provides leading cyber security products, but one that champions human rights and equality for all and one that is committed to minimizing environmental impacts.
Now let’s talk about where our ranking declined this year. In 2018, we ranked #54 in the Governance category, and in 2019 we ranked #460. In May 2018, Symantec announced that its Audit Committee of the Board of Directors was conducting an internal investigation into allegations raised by a former employee. After the Audit Committee investigation concluded, Symantec’s Board of Directors adopted the Audit Committee’s recommendations, including clarifying and enhancing the Code of Conduct and related policies.
We were extremely proud to rank tenth in the Employee Relations category of 2018’s “Best Corporate Citizens”, however, we saw our ranking drop to #116 in 2019. We are increasing efforts to engage employees and finding new ways to listen and be more responsive to their needs. We are adopting an employee mindset when making important workforce decisions and know that employees themselves are an essential component of culture change at Symantec.
Our ranking stayed about the same the in the Stakeholders and Society category, and in 2019, CR Magazine expanded the Environmental and Climate Change scoring categories. While we actually had some huge environmental wins in 2018, including zapping greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent and launching our first employee-focused environmental campaign, our ranking dropped in both of these categories due to the scoring changes.
The “Best Corporate Citizens” ranking isn’t only about CR programs and results – it’s also about transparency. Symantec was recently named a “Win-Win Company” by JUST Capital due to our public disclosures around issues relevant to our workers, customers, communities, shareholders, and the environment.
For both JUST Capital’s “Win-Win Companies” and CR Magazine’s “100 Best Corporate Citizens”, companies are evaluated using public data. While we continue to expand and improve our CR program and commitments each year, we’re proud to be one of the companies focusing on the transparency of our data reporting, especially around issues like gender pay equity, paid parental leave, and diversity and inclusion.