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Business Wire 19-Sep-2023 8:37 AM
PayPal wins Best Overall Transparency; Verizon is inaugural ESG winner
PayPal, Target and State Street are among companies awarded top honors in the fifth annual U.S. Transparency Awards announced today by Labrador, a leading global communications firm specializing in transparent investor and stakeholder communications. The rankings compare the efficacy of corporate disclosure documents across the S&P 2501 – the nation's largest companies based on market capitalization – and are independently determined through an evaluation of all corporate disclosure documents.
In addition to revealing the 10 most transparent U.S. companies and top three winners of each industry, the awards recognize the very best in individual disclosure categories, including overall transparency, proxy statement, Form 10-K, investor relations website, code of conduct, most improved, plain language, and for the first time, ESG reporting.
These awards spotlight best practices and allow companies to track their annual performance against the open-source criteria published by Labrador in an effort to establish transparency standards that will contribute to a broad improvement in corporate disclosure readability and efficacy.
"Today's investors and stakeholders are demanding a level of transparency from companies unseen in the past. Clear, concise corporate communication inspires investor confidence and trust, and therefore creates real value for both companies and their stakeholders," said Broc Romanek, industry-renowned expert and chair of the independent Transparency Scientific Committee, which will oversee the awards next year. "These awards reward the quality of disclosure provided by S&P 250 companies and honor those who demonstrate a dedication to transparently communicate."
Each year, experts from Labrador evaluate the corporate disclosure documents of all S&P 250 companies and compile a study that reveals what the nation's largest companies share with stakeholders and how they tell their corporate story. This year, 59,250 data points were collected, and documents were assessed using 237 objective criteria2 that reflect the award's five pillars of transparency – accessibility, precision, comparability, availability and clarity – to determine the award winners.
A long-standing tradition in Europe, the U.S. Transparency Awards – in their fifth year – have quickly become a coveted acknowledgment among some of the most respected public companies in the world. View the video awards announcement here.
TOP 10 MOST TRANSPARENT COMPANIES IN THE U.S.
Best Overall Transparency: PayPal
PayPal excels among the S&P 250 by providing information well beyond what is required from the SEC across all five documents. A standout achievement, the company's disclosures relating to its Board of Directors, ESG strategy, cybersecurity and DEI were top scoring across all documents based upon the objective criteria. PayPal truly exemplifies the meaning of these awards and demonstrates its dedication to clear, concise investor and stakeholder communications. Target and State Street ranked second and third.
Best Proxy Statement: Allstate
One of the most important documents that shareholders review, the proxy statement provides the critical information necessary to understand the matters on the agenda for a company's annual shareholders meeting and should include a sense of a company's overall values and the nature of its board oversight. Allstate takes top honors offering an easy-to-navigate interactive proxy statement; identifies corporate themes up front; provides Board descriptions, linking individual skills to company strategy; and offers robust ESG and human capital management disclosure. Lockheed Martin and General Electric received the next highest rankings.
Best ESG Report: Verizon Communications
The inaugural winner, Verizon Communications, triumphs taking top honors in a category that is rapidly becoming one of the most important documents through which companies communicate with their stakeholders. The company was awarded a precision score of 99%, which measures the completeness and prioritization of voluntary information shared. T-Mobile and Union Pacific ranked second and third.
Most Improved Overall: State Street
The award for Most Improved Overall goes to State Street for its dedication to responding to stakeholder needs and commitment to enhancing its corporate disclosure documents year-over-year. The company increased its score by nearly 154%, moving up 80 spots, ranking number three among the top ten U.S. companies. TE Connectivity and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals ranked second and third.
Best Form 10-K: Moody's Corporation
The Form 10-K continues to grow in importance as SEC rulemaking focuses on these disclosures, and it provides an important window into a company's financial health and management's business strategies. Moody's Corporation made the leap from fourth to first in 2023. The company goes well above the norm in many areas, using graphics to enhance reader understanding and transparently communicating global workforce statistics on gender and race. ConocoPhillips and American International Group received the next highest rankings.
Best Investor Relations Website: Boston Scientific
It is critical that a company's investor relations website is accessible and concise, making it easy for readers to find the information they seek. Boston Scientific stands out providing an IR website that is exceptionally easy to navigate and is one of only 31% of companies that offer a dedicated annual meeting landing page. Altria and Allstate ranked second and third.
Best Code of Conduct: Becton Dickinson (BD)
A clear, concise code of conduct, also known as code of ethics, reflects an organization's purpose and values, guiding its Board and employees' behavior. BD provides a user-friendly interface, direct links to policies to ensure accessibility and an easy-to-understand graphic about the reporting process. Procter & Gamble and ConocoPhillips ranked second and third.
Most Efficient Plain Language - Proxy Statement: PACCAR
The key to transparent communication is to use simple, easy-to-understand language which helps build value and trust between stakeholders and the company. Top honors are awarded to PACCAR. Williams Companies and Rockwell Automation received the next highest rankings.
U.S. TRANSPARENCY AWARDS RECOGNIZE TOP INDUSTRY WINNERS
To learn more about the U.S. Transparency Awards, visit TransparencyAwards.com. To review analysis of good, transparent disclosure examples throughout the year, visit RealTransparentDisclosure.com. Companies wishing to inquire about their ranking should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Labrador, the creator and organizer of the Transparency Awards, is an independent firm specializing in transparent investor and stakeholder communications. With more than 30 years serving clients in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, Labrador's mission remains the same – to bridge the gap between compliance and communication by creating, designing, and publishing reader-centric documents that generate shareholder trust and reinforce their investment decisions. Focusing exclusively on corporate disclosure documents, and with more than 500 clients worldwide, Labrador provides unique insight into industry trends and best practices, and award-winning innovation and initiatives.
1All S&P 250 companies are ranked, with no need to apply and no fee. Each company receives its own confidential annual ranking. The list of companies was created in February 2023, and the data collected between May 1 and August 15, 2023.
2The criteria are objective and selected to address the most relevant issues. For a list of the criteria and more information about the five pillars of transparency, visit TransparencyAwards.com or RealTransparentDisclosure.com.