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March 18, 2009
CRO Magazine Publishes List of 100 Best Corporate Citizens for 2009
    by Robert Kropp

Bristol Myers-Squibb tops list after failing to appear in 2008, while 50 companies tie for first in reconfigured governance category.

Claiming that its 10th annual 100 Best Corporate Citizens list is its most transparent ever, CRO Magazine has published its list of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens 2009.

Topping this year's list is Bristol Myers-Squibb, followed by General Mills and IBM. Merck and HP round out this year's top five. Interestingly, not a single top-ten finisher from the 2008 list finished among the top ten in 2009. Entergy, whose holdings include ten nuclear and several coal-fired power plants, finished tenth in CRO's 2009 rankings; in 2008, the company finished 17th.

Only Intel, Cisco and Starbucks have made the list all 10 years. Nearly 400 companies have appeared on the list over the past 10 years. Bristol Myers-Squibb was consigned to CRO's "penalty box" last year due to regulatory enforcement issues from 2006.

CRO's list for 2009 ranks only companies included on the Russell 1000 Index, which measures the performance of the large-cap segment of the US equity universe. The list is based on publicly available information from such sources as non-secure websites, government and regulatory sources, investment publications and NGO databases.

The methodology employed by CRO for its list assigns a co-weighted average score to each company based on performance in the areas of environment and employee relations (19.5%), climate change (16.5%), human rights (16.0%), financial (12.5%), philanthropy (9.0%) and governance (7.0%).

CRO's change in methodology for 2009 (the weighting for governance decreased from 16% in 2008) has drawn criticism from some quarters. Marcy Scott Lynn, Director of CSR for Sun Microsystems, reports in her blog that CRO removed executive compensation as a factor in its governance category, despite the proliferation of headlines worldwide calling attention to the issue.

Upon the removal of executive compensation as a factor, according to Lynn, 50 companies then tied with a top ranking in the governance category. As a result, CRO reduced the weight given to governance as a corporate responsibility issue.


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