Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Free Article Join Over 1 Million Premium Members And Get More In-Depth Stock Guidance and Research

Fool Awards: Most Socially Responsible Company

By Alyce Lomax - Updated Apr 6, 2017 at 3:18AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

These companies make doing good a part of their corporate mission.

Socially responsible investing can be controversial, not to mention a little mushy when weighing criteria to judge corporations' attributes. But one thing's for sure: These crazy days outline why socially responsible companies can make good investments. After all, they're doing things right, and it stands to reason that many companies have been doing some seriously socially irresponsible things lately.

Depending on where you look, organizations' lists of top socially responsible companies can differ. For example, the "100 Best Corporate Citizens of 2008" list from The CRO (previously Business Ethics magazine) named Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) the top dog, while Fortune's roster of the most socially responsible companies has International Paper (NYSE:IP) at the top of the heap.

Still, some companies are universally recognized as socially responsible. They're the ones that have captured the public's imagination with the SRI attributes strongly linked to their brands and corporate missions -- and these companies clearly meant it to work out that way. So, with companies like that in mind, we present our Foolish nominees:

  • Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX)
  • Chipotle (NYSE:CMG)
  • Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)
  • Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFMI)
  • Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR)

Starbucks: The coffee giant has great benefits for its employee partners, including health-care coverage. It's also been very aware of the needs of small coffee farmers through its CAFE initiative, and it tries to do business in an environmentally aware manner, through actions such as reducing waste with recycled paper sleeves instead of double-cupping. Starbucks has been included in The CRO's "100 Best Corporate Citizens" list for all of the nine years the list has been compiled.

Chipotle: Chipotle puts natural, organic ingredients in its burritos as part of its "Food With Integrity" program, and it also uses sour cream from dairy that's free of artificial growth hormones. For people who like to eat with ethics in mind, Chipotle's a relatively guilt-free fast-food treat. The company also provides health benefits, a 401(K) plan, and paid vacation time for its employees.

Google: "Don't be evil" is just the tip of the iceberg for Big G. The company is well known for its employee perks and benefits. In addition, Google makes high-profile environmental efforts, including its goal to be a carbon-neutral company. Its philanthropic arm,, was created to find ways to fight climate change, poverty, and emerging diseases. 

Whole Foods Market: Whole Foods is yet another company that keeps employee needs in mind, with caps on management compensation, an open-book policy on pay, and benefits that workers can vote on. Its mission to provide organic and natural foods is heavy on environmental awareness -- it was in the vanguard of companies seeking to reduce the use of plastic bags -- and it carries out a myriad of other green initiatives. It has also created non-profit organizations: the Animal Compassion Foundation and the Whole Planet Foundation.  

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters: Like Starbucks, Green Mountain has been a longtime proponent of sustainability, support of coffee growers, environmental initiatives, and good treatment of employees. It was a veteran of The CRO's "100 Best Corporate Citizens" list, too -- it made No. 1 in 2007 -- until the list began focusing solely on large-cap companies.

So, which one of these candidates do you think is the most socially responsible company? Vote for your choice below.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Intel Corporation Stock Quote
Intel Corporation
$49.25 (-0.51%) $0.25
International Paper Company Stock Quote
International Paper Company
$46.45 (1.24%) $0.57
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$2,840.03 (-0.68%) $-19.29
Starbucks Corporation Stock Quote
Starbucks Corporation
$111.24 (-0.16%) $0.18
Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. Stock Quote
Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.
Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. Stock Quote
Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.
$1,592.10 (-1.20%) $-19.34
Whole Foods Market, Inc. Stock Quote
Whole Foods Market, Inc.

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 12/05/2021.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Our Most Popular Articles

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with the Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from the Motley Fool's premium services.