The Forbes JUST 100 evaluates and celebrates U.S. corporations that outperform on the issues that matter most to the American public. This year, companies were evaluated on criteria like paying a fair wage, upholding human rights across the supply chain, investing in worker training, acting ethically and with integrity, cultivating a diverse and inclusive workplace, protecting worker health and safety, providing good benefits and work-life balance and more. By striving to meet the needs of all stakeholders, JUST 100 leaders demonstrate that profits and purpose go hand in hand.
“We are thrilled to be named one of America’s most JUST companies,” said Carol B. Tomé, UPS Chief Executive Officer. “UPS is committed to creating a more sustainable company – and world – by being customer first, people led and innovation driven. More than 528,000 UPSers work hard every day to move our world forward by delivering what matters.”
A resilient and compassionate mindset has underpinned activities at UPS this year. The safety of the more than 528,000 UPSers around the world remains the company’s top priority. To date, UPS has implemented enhanced cleaning procedures, provided personal protective equipment and introduced an emergency paid leave program to help employees impacted by COVID-19.
“Now more than ever, business leaders have the chance to spark lasting systemic change within their companies and across society,” said Forbes Senior Editor Steven Bertoni. “The companies in this year’s JUST 100 show that we can face the twin tragedies of the COVID-19 pandemic and racial inequality and continue to improve our actions and refocus our missions to do better, and be better, for all stakeholders.”
This year UPS has advanced its sustainability initiatives. In the last decade, UPS has invested more than $1 billion in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles as well as supporting infrastructure. The company is now the largest user of renewable natural gas in the transportation industry and has a fleet of more than 10,300 specialized alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. Recently, UPS announced plans to purchase more than 6,000 natural gas trucks through 2022, building upon a January 2020 commitment to purchase 10,000 electric vehicles from the UK-based technology startup firm, Arrival. These investments offer UPS customers sustainability solutions that reduce carbon within their own value chains.
Continued efforts to improve sustainability through technology this year have been matched with an endeavor to raise awareness about environmental equity. In September, UPS announced a new goal to plant 50 million trees around the world by 2030, in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals period (2015-2030) – with a special consideration. These plantings will be earmarked to support low-income and underserved communities, concentrating particularly on improving the health and well-being of residents, providing an economic uplift and creating better spaces to live and work. This focused approach will bring the power of UPS’s commitment to social justice and the environment to make life-enhancing changes that can foster the ability to thrive.
This initiative follows UPS’s success in surpassing another goal – providing 20 million hours of volunteer service in communities. These hours represent more than $533 million in support that was provided to thousands of non-profit organizations around the world. UPS was recently named a 2020 honoree of The Civic 50 by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. The award recognizes UPS as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the U.S.
Also in the area of social responsibility, UPS is taking action to address racial inequality. Internally, the company instituted mandatory unconscious bias training for its employees. To ensure ongoing action, the company established the UPS Equity, Justice & Action (EJA) Task Force, a cross-functional team of UPS leaders charged with identifying and expediting solutions that strengthen the organization internally, while activating UPS’s size and scale externally in the battle against systemic inequality. Initial efforts have focused on salary equity, enabling open conversations about race, and advocacy, including supporting legislation against hate crimes.
Externally, UPS is stepping up its actions in support of Black communities worldwide via The UPS Foundation, expanding funding to such longstanding partners as the National Urban League, the NAACP, United Negro College Fund and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights’ Education Fund, and forming new partnerships with organizations working for justice, reform and equity such as the Equal Justice Initiative and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The company also pledged 1 million UPS employee volunteer hours to support mentorship and educational programming in underserved Black communities.
“In the face of a global pandemic, economic recession, and national reckoning with racial injustice, the American public is demanding more from our corporate leaders than ever before,” said Martin Whittaker, CEO of JUST Capital. “The companies featured in the 2021 JUST 100 list have stepped up in service of their workers, customers, and communities this year while delivering long-term value to shareholders.”