Citigroup and Merck get top ratings for their records on including women, minorities and people with diverse sexual orientation, while Berkshire Hathaway and Ebay score at the bottom of a new ranking of diversity among companies in the S&P 100. Calvert Investments, a mutual fund firm that invests in companies that engage in sustainable and responsible practices, put together the survey, released today.
While Citi and Merck shared the No. 1 slot, getting a perfect 100 score in Calvert’s ranking, JP Morgan Chase and CocaCola tied for second place, with a score of 95. Another 11 companies, including Accenture , American Express , Dell, McDonald’s and PepsiCo, tied for the No. 3 slot, with 90 points.
Calvert last did a corporate diversity survey in 2010, and the strides since then have been small. Example: In 2010 women held 18% of director positions. That number rose only one point, to 19%, in two years. “Change is very slow,” says Christine De Groot, a Calvert sustainability analyst who wrote the report.
At the best-rated companies at least, Calvert awarded top marks on the 10 factors it used to measure progress on diversity. Three of those had to do with executive and board representation. Calvert gave 10 points to companies that had two or more women and/or minorities among its five highest-paid executives, and 10 more points to those that had three or more women and/or minorities on their boards. It also gave 10 points to companies that use specific language about a desire for diversity in their director nominating guidelines. Other measures include family-friendly benefits like flexible work, adoption assistance and domestic partner benefits.
Why did Berkshire Hathaway come in last, when CEO Warren Buffett has spoken out about the importance of promoting women at work? In 2011, at a conference on women in Laguna Niguel, Calif., he talked about how, in the early years of corporate America, “we wasted half our talent.” Yet according to De Groot, “we were not able to find any evidence that they value diversity throughout their corporation.”
Berkshire has two women on its board of directors but none in the C-suite. The company did not return a call seeking comment but I know from past stories that it has a policy of not participating in surveys. Calvert gathered publicly available information from company websites, SEC filings, the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index and other sources. But it also reached out to all the companies. Only 41% responded. It may have hurt Berkshire Hathaway that it didn’t comply with Calvert’s requests.