Wells Fargo, Meta, PG&E, Boeing, and Others Receive ‘Unique Event Treatment’ in JUST’s 2024 Rankings

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images JUST Capital’s annual Rankings of America’s Most JUST Companies is a comprehensive evaluation of the corporate performance of the Russell 1000, benchmarked against the priorities of the American public. While...

Wells Fargo Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

JUST Capital’s annual Rankings of America’s Most JUST Companies is a comprehensive evaluation of the corporate performance of the Russell 1000, benchmarked against the priorities of the American public. While JUST Capital's ranking process is robust and thorough, it doesn't capture every unique event that may impact a company's score and rank. To address this, JUST Capital has introduced a unique event treatment protocol.

Identifying Unique Events

The unique event treatment protocol focuses on instances resulting from a company's actions or inactions that are considered material to just business behavior as defined by the public. These events have the potential to affect a company's standing beyond the normal framework of the ranking process and are sudden, extreme, or unusual in nature. JUST Capital's analysts diligently identify and evaluate these unique events.

To ensure credibility and accuracy, JUST Capital's methodology involves a formal process of monitoring media coverage and consultation with the public, independent specialists, and other neutral third parties. The screening process identifies incidents that meet JUST Capital's criteria for unique events and assigns them one of three treatments based on severity: Serious (I), Severe (II), or Most Severe (III).

The Ten Cases

This year, ten companies received the unique event treatment in the 2024 Rankings. Let's take a closer look at some of these cases:

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo, a financial services company known for its retail, commercial, and corporate banking services, faced significant scrutiny. The company was found to have opened millions of unauthorized accounts, leading to a Wells Fargo executive pleading guilty to obstructing the investigation into this fraudulent activity. Furthermore, Wells Fargo's history of labor and banking violations persisted, including recent findings on employee usage of personal messaging for legal matters. Consequently, Wells Fargo received the Most Severe (III) treatment, resulting in the lowest score in the Shareholders & Governance stakeholder.

Meta

Meta, a social media conglomerate owning platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus, encountered growing reports of its involvement in the spread of misinformation, hate speech, and other discriminatory content. These allegations contributed to Meta receiving the lowest score in the Customers stakeholder.

PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), the holding company for a public utility involved in the sale and delivery of electricity and natural gas in California, faced notoriety in 2019 due to bankruptcy connected to its wildfire liabilities. In 2021, the company's alleged negligence was determined to have sparked or contributed to regional wildfires, resulting in human deaths, property destruction, and endangerment of communities. As a consequence, PG&E received the lowest score in the Communities stakeholder.

These are just a few examples of the unique events that influenced the rankings of these companies. The other cases involved Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc, Norfolk Southern, Fox Corp, 3M Co, Tesla Inc, Johnson & Johnson, Altria, and Boeing.

Conclusion

JUST Capital's unique event treatment protocol ensures that exceptional circumstances impacting a company's score and rank are duly recognized. The rigorous screening process, involving media analysis and consultation with experts, guarantees the credibility of the treatment assigned to each event. By incorporating the unique event treatment protocol, JUST Capital maintains a comprehensive and unbiased assessment of corporate performance in its annual rankings.

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