The FAQ

frequent.questions

Why did Company X get such a good/bad grade?
All companies are scored based on the same criteria. As soon as the detailed data chart is released on the product category, you should be able to see exactly why a particular company received its grade. While the system is far from perfect at the moment, it is currently the most comprehensive social & environmental responsibility ranking system available as it includes data from the widest range of private, government and nonprofit sources, covering the past 20 years. You can see a list of the sources here.

Where can I see the data behind the rankings?
All of the data behind the rankings is contained in a massive database of over 1000 companies that keeps track of all of the relevant information and crunches the numbers. While its not much use to anyone in that form, I’ll be regularly posting the data behind each product category, one-at-a-time, in a readable online form. You’ll find links to the first of these data charts here.

Why didn’t you include Category X or Company Y in your rankings?
While many common product categories and companies are included in the rankings, there is always room for improvement. If you have suggestions for future additions, please send them here.

How is it that companies like Ben & Jerry’s and Tom’s of Maine still make it on The Ten Best Companies List? Weren’t they taken over by larger corporations?
Many mergers and buyouts result in a kind of corporate Borg-like assimilation of the smaller into the bigger. However, there are some cases in which the smaller company is able to maintain the integrity of its operations despite the takeover. I have been watching Ben & Jerry’s since the late 80s. Ben Cohen made it a point to negotiate an agreement with Unilever that would allow his company to maintain its business practices. Since the buyout, B&J has continued to win awards for its social and environmental responsibility as well as expand many of its progressive programs. It looks like Tom’s of Maine is headed down the same path. They have done great work in the past, and it seems that they have made a similar operating agreement with Colgate. They are worth keeping an eye on, but until the data demonstrates otherwise, they are still one of the best companies on the planet.