A lot of companies take their share of well-deserved criticism here in Fooldom. But it's also important to cheer companies on when they do well. Recent issues of CRO magazine (which is aimed at CROs, or corporate responsibility officers) have done just that, by announcing "CRO's 10 Best Corporate Citizens for 2007." 

CRO ranks companies in order of impressiveness for each of a handful of major industries. Each company was evaluated in eight categories: environment, climate change, human rights, employee relations, corporate governance, lobbying, philanthropy, and financial.

Here are some of the companies that rose to the top of their industries.



Monsanto (NYSE: MON)


Marathon Oil (NYSE: MRO)


Bank of America (NYSE: BAC)


Disney (NYSE: DIS)


Intel (Nasdaq: INTC)

Technology hardware

Adobe (Nasdaq: ADBE)

Technology software

Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP)


If you're interested in socially responsible investing, scouring a list like this and examining how various companies rate in each of the subcategories can help you zero in on candidates for your portfolio. Just remember that for us investors, it's not enough for a company to do good in the world -- its stock should also be attractively priced for us to consider investing in it. And the company's financial health and competitive position should also be strong. In other words, look for little or at least well-managed debt, ample cash flow, growing revenues and earnings, rising profit margins, and so on.

Finally, think critically even about socially responsible ratings such as this one. For example, CRO gives companies credit for being substantial philanthropists. But that makes the investor in me a little uncomfortable. As a shareholder, I'm a part-owner of a company. When the company gives away some of its profits to charity, it's giving away some of my money, without asking me about it -- when I'm perfectly capable of donating to charity on my own.

Learn more
If you'd like to learn more about socially responsible investing, here are some articles on the topic:

Thanks for your support with our Foolanthropy 2007 charity drive. Readers gave more than $74,000 to five organizations dedicated to getting rid of financial illiteracy around the world, and our $10,000 bonus went to the Corporation for Enterprise Development.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article. Bank of America is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. Intel is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Disney is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Try our investing services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.