A major nonprofit ranked U.S. companies for doing the best for their communities, workers, and the environment, and Salesforce and PayPal made huge jumps from last year.

microsoft employees londonMicrosoft employees jump and cheer during the Microsoft store's opening on July 11, 2019 in London, England. Microsoft opened their first flagship store in Europe.Peter Summers/Getty Images

  • Billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones cofounded the nonprofit Just Capital in 2013 to measure what Americans want from corporations, and which of these corporations are contributing to a "more just" society.
  • Just issues an annual ranking of America's largest 1,000 corporations based on how they are creating long-term value in the United States through strong relationships with employees, customers, and society at large.
  • A "just" company is one that does right by all of their stakeholders.
  • The top 100 this year had a 6% higher return on equity than the rest of those in the Russell 1000.
  • This year's top 10 include Microsoft, Apple, and Procter & Gamble.
  • This article is part of Business Insider's ongoing series on Better Capitalism.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Over the past few years, the largest corporations in the United States have recognized that investing in their employees and communities can do more than give them material for a nice press release, and that it actually increases the long-term health of their business. The nonprofit Just Capital has also recognized this, and has used its annual rankings and research to laud the companies doing the most.

For this year's ranking of the "most just" companies, Microsoft took the No.1 spot for the second year in a row, and was joined in the top 10 by fellow tech giants Alphabet, the parent company of Google, and Apple. The only non-tech companies atop the list were the consumer goods stalwart Procter & Gamble and the health insurance provider Anthem, the latter jumping up to No.7 from No. 52.

A "just" company is one that does right by all of its stakeholders.

The billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones started Just in 2013, noting in a TED Talk that "we've ripped the humanity out of our companies" through decades of shareholder primacy, which he felt resulted in short-term profits at all costs. Just was intended to counteract that movement. The pushback that Jones talked about has gained tremendous momentum in the mainstream business conversation, and it's something we've been tracking at Business Insider in our Better Capitalism series.

Earlier this year, the Business Roundtable, a lobbying group of around 200 of the country's top CEOs, echoed Jones and declared that companies had to move to a stakeholder perspective, where customers, employees, and communities were given equal weight with shareholders when making significant decisions.

Just has been ranking the largest 1,000 public companies in America, minus REITs and utility companies, for the past four years, and this year's ranking was done in tandem with Forbes. The researchers found that the top 100 companies in their ranking this year, compared to the others analyzed, pay 31% more to their median worker, give 8.4 times more to charity, have 25% more women on their board, are 32% more likely to have established environmental policies, and, notably, have a 6% higher return-on-equity.

You can find the full ranking at Just's website and the top 10 below. We've highlighted key developments over the past year that Just highlighted for each.

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10. VMware — Computer software company based in Palo Alto, California (down from 7.)

10. VMware — Computer software company based in Palo Alto, California (down from 7.)

Workers: Has a robust paid time off policy that includes 18 weeks of paid parental leave and unlimited vacation for most employees.

Environment: Met its 2020 carbon neutrality goal two years early, and 100% of its energy this year has come from renewable sources.

Communities: Donated more than $25 million to foundations last year.

9. Procter & Gamble — Consumer goods company based in Cincinnati, Ohio (down from 8.)

9. Procter & Gamble — Consumer goods company based in Cincinnati, Ohio (down from 8.)

Communities: Has a supplier diversity program and requires suppliers to guarantee their employees the right to organize.

Workers: Offers a $40,000 lifetime benefit for fertility services for employees trying to get pregnant.

Environment: Is committed to using 100% renewable electricity and having all of its products in recyclable or reusable packaging by 2030.

8. PayPal —Digital payments company based in San Jose, California (up from 45.)

8. PayPal —Digital payments company based in San Jose, California (up from 45.)

Workers: Offers publicly the highest level of transparency around its workplace demographics, and requires at least one minority candidate for every director-level position and above.

Customers: Has an industry-best customer privacy policy.

Environment: Has a zero landfill policy for its retired electronic equipment.

7. Anthem — Health insurance provider based in Indianapolis, Indiana (up from 52.)

7. Anthem — Health insurance provider based in Indianapolis, Indiana (up from 52.)

Shareholders: Four of nine of its board directors are women, and all but one of its directors is independent, including the chairman.

Workers: A third-party assessment found that there was no pay gap for gender or ethnicity.

Communities: Donated $31 million through its foundation last year, up by 26% over 2017.

6. Alphabet — Technology conglomerate based in Mountain View, California (down from 3.)

6. Alphabet — Technology conglomerate based in Mountain View, California (down from 3.)

Workers: Offers 18 weeks of paid parental leave regardless of gender.

Environment: Kept 91% of its waste from landfills, including 100% landfill diversion at six operating data centers.

Communities: Is best in its industry for fighting against exploitative practices in its supply chain.

5. Salesforce.com — Enterprise software company based in San Francisco, California (up from 29.)

5. Salesforce.com — Enterprise software company based in San Francisco, California (up from 29.)

Workers: Offers robust childcare services through a network of caregivers and preschools.

Communities: Offers seven days of paid time off for volunteering and contributes pro-bono cloud technology to nonprofits.

Environment: Is on track to have 100% net zero emissions travel for employees by 2020 and full net zero carbon certification for 2030, and half of its suppliers have emissions targets goals for 2025.

4. Intel — Semiconductor company based in Santa Clara, California (down from 2.)

4. Intel — Semiconductor company based in Santa Clara, California (down from 2.)

Communities: The nonprofit Development International gave Intel its highest possible rating for transparency around the sourcing of minerals in its supply chain.

Environment: Its American and European offices used 100% renewable energy last year, with all of its global offices using a total of 71% renewable energy.

Workers: Achieved pay and promotion parity for women and underrepresented minorities last year, two years ahead of schedule.

3. Apple — Technology hardware company based in Cupertino, California (up from 16.)

3. Apple — Technology hardware company based in Cupertino, California (up from 16.)

Communities: Has spent $100 million across 114 schools since 2014 through products and tech education.

Environment: Reduced a certain kind of greenhouse gas emissions by 79.5% from 2017 to 2018, following its move to 100% renewable energy for its operations.

Workers: Offers tuition reimbursement of up to $5,250 per year.

2. NVIDIA — Semiconductor and consumer tech company based in Santa Clara, California (up from 6.)

2. NVIDIA — Semiconductor and consumer tech company based in Santa Clara, California (up from 6.)

Workers: Has among the best benefits packages, and offers the Stanford Health Navigator program employees to make the most of these benefits.

Environment: Reduced emissions per employee by 7% between 2018 and 2019, for a total of 20% since 2014, already exceeding its 2020 goal.

Communities: Is transparent in its total commitment to sourcing all of its minerals ethically.

1. Microsoft — Technology company based in Redmond, Washington (remains at 1.)

1. Microsoft — Technology company based in Redmond, Washington (remains at 1.)

Communities: Donated $1.4 billion in software and services to nonprofits last year.

Workers: Not only does it offer 12 weeks of paid parental leave to all of its new parents and 20 for birth mothers, it started requiring last year that all of its suppliers offer 12 weeks of paid parental leave, as well.

Environment: Has had carbon neutrality since 2012, and last year reduced its product packaging by 20%.

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