Corporate Citizenship And The FAANGs - Why Should Investors Care?

I've done a lot of research and consulting in ESG analysis and have read many CSR (Corporate and Social Responsibility) I've also presented my research findings and have interacted at conferences with many CSR professionals.  It was while delving into CSR reports in my latest ESG research endeavor that I discovered a very surprising fact.  Among the 5 "FAANG" companies, only Amazon files a CSR report.  I found this surprising and checked my findings with the best resource for CSR report research I know, the Governance and Accountability (G & A) Institute.  They confirmed that 425 or 85% of the 500 companies with stocks in the S&P 500 Index filed Sustainability Reports for 2017 and that Alphabet (Google), Apple, Facebook and Netflix did not.  

Until discovering this, I assumed that the vast majority of companies that did not file CSR Reports would be in the bottom quartile of sales and/or market cap.  Indeed more than 50 of non-reporters are companies between #376 and #500 as ranked in market capitalization.  No others in the top twenty did not file.  A few quick calls to peers in this space confirmed that they were equally surprised.  

A bit more research makes it evident that this is not an accident.  Apple, a firm with many highly publicized labor and workplace issues in the past, issues only an Environmental report.  This is also true with Alphabet/Google, a firm with almost zero environmental issues but recently embroiled in some social and governance controversies.  Facebook not only issues no report but CEO Zuckerberg has been quoted as demeaning corporate philanthropic practices as tantamount to community bribery.  Netflix shareholders recently filed a shareholder proposal that would mandate the company to publish a CSR report.  As of this writing, I could find no statement about if from Netflix management.  In contrast, Amazon not only has filed CSR Reports each of the past ten years but those reports are very comprehensive, providing data and documentation for almost all researched Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

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Gus B. 4 months ago Member's comment

Very interesting, none of this was known to me.

Gary Anderson 4 months ago Contributor's comment

Could be that Google would have a hard time speaking to runaway self driving cars, lol.

Angry Old Lady 4 months ago Member's comment

Cute.