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JLens CSR Awards 2023

Updated: Jan 10

CSR Awards heading over mountains at sunset

JLens is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2023 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Awards. In 2016, JLens created the Jewish Advocacy Strategy in order for JLens to conduct investor advocacy on behalf of the Jewish community to improve the practices of 300 of the largest and most influential US public companies. The Jewish Advocacy Strategy has grown to over $200 million invested by over 30 Jewish institutions including federations, foundations, and nonprofits. 

JLens utilizes six pillars from Judaism’s framework of mitzvot (obligations) to evaluate companies and engage in long-term investor advocacy. These are Obligation to Coexistence, Obligation to Society, Obligation to the Worker, Obligation to the Environment, Obligation to Ethical Business, and Support for Israel. 

These six areas were informed by Jewish texts and teachings, positioning JLens as the only organization approaching investor advocacy from a perspective steeped in Jewish tradition.   

Through robust data collection, in-depth research, and direct engagement, JLens has identified 18 corporations that rank highly and outperform sector peers. 

Advocacy and Representation

JLens is the leading investor advocate working to combat antisemitism and anti-Israel bias in the corporate and investment spheres, in addition to promoting religious coexistence in the workplace and advocating for progress on social, ethical, and environmental concerns through a Jewish values lens.. Through investor advocacy, the JLens team promotes issues that matter most to the Jewish community through direct engagement, participating in investor coalitions with key partners, and when necessary, filing shareholder resolutions on issues relevant to the Jewish community.

CSR Award Recipients

These 18 corporations receiving the JLens CSR Award tie sustainability and social responsibility outcomes to corporate mission; invest in communities and employees with strong commitments to equitable pay, diversity initiatives, and work-life balance; encourage responsible energy and resource use by managing climate risks with science-based targets (SBTs); all while managing supply chains to embrace and commit to the same principles. All of these companies operate in Israel or have significant relationships and direct investments in the Israeli economy, as well as strong programs that foster coexistence and religious inclusion across operations. 

In alphabetical order:

1. Abbvie (NYSE: ABBV), Pharmaceuticals 

Abbvie played an important role during the pandemic in ensuring access to medicine throughout the world. When one of the company’s drugs became a possible treatment for COVID, the company released all of its intellectual property rights so the drug could be produced easily and economically around the world. AbbVie also expanded its patient assistance program to ensure those who were uninsured could access necessary medications. AbbVie has demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. For example, the company has a Jewish Resource Committee to support Jewish employees, and some of the company’s offices have multi-faith prayer rooms. The company has a history of strong ties to Israel, with more than 200 employees in Israel working on drug development, as well as research partnerships with various Israeli hospitals.

2. Accenture (NYSE: ACN), Management Consulting, Technology and Outsourcing Services

Accenture reported to JLens that any client work must align with the company’s core values. By 2025, the company aims to achieve a 50/50 gender-balanced workforce, and Accenture is very close to achieving this goal. Accenture embodies best-in-class religious inclusion policies regarding flexible religious holiday accommodations, “dress for your day” inclusive clothing policies, and an active Jewish employee resource group. The company is a leader in reducing net carbon emissions, including encouraging 75% of its suppliers to take action to reduce emissions, and is close to achieving its goal to use 100% renewable energy across its operations in 2023. Accenture is deeply invested in the Israeli economy with a R&D lab in Herzliya, as well as Accenture technology competitions across Israeli universities. Additionally, programs like Accenture’s Development Partnerships, where employees work with clients pro-bono to solve social and economic challenges throughout the globe, demonstrate the company’s deep commitment to social responsibility. 

3. American Express (NYSE: AXP), Consumer Finance

American Express played a leadership role in decreasing economic inequities during the pandemic by implementing financial relief programs and waiving fees and interest for individuals and small businesses in need. Israel is one of American Express’s largest international markets. The company has taken a strong stance against BDS, and is proud of its many venture capital investments in Israel. American Express has demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion, implementing a gender/racial pay equity analysis and achieving gender pay equity throughout its global workforce. American Express has a Jewish employee resource group, which hosts educational and community-oriented events and serves as a resource and support network for members. Additionally, American Express is also committed to supplier diversity, unconscious bias training, and inclusive recruitment practices. The company has already achieved carbon neutral operations and uses 100% renewable energy.

4. Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB), Pharmaceuticals 

Biogen works to create treatments for those suffering from Alzheimers, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological disorders. Biogen works to promote patient access through numerous initiatives, such as a recent pilot program to improve access to a drug to treat spinal muscular atrophy in India. The company is focused on ensuring diversity in its clinical trials, with 90% of initiated studies having a plan in place for the recruitment of people from underrepresented groups. Biogen also works with various community faith leaders to diversify clinical trial representation and to enhance access to local health resources. The company is committed to building diversity in its workforce, offering the ‘Limitless’ internship program for neurodiverse people, and filling 47% of its global director roles with female candidates. Biogen also conducts many best practices for religious inclusion in the workplace, including offering floating holidays and having a multicultural employee resource group that provides guidance to employees on religious holidays. Operating in Israel through a strategic partner, Biogen is committed to serving the Israeli market, and is engaged in pharmaceutical research on Parkinson’s disease through the innovation center at the medical school of Tel Aviv University. 

5. Cigna Group (NYSE: CI), Health Insurance

JLens and Cigna have an ongoing engagement on religious coexistence best practices in the workplace, and thanks to these discussions Cigna has made its dress code explicit in stating that employees are welcome to dress according to religious imperatives. Cigna’s commitment to religious coexistence goes beyond dress, with their interfaith group UpLift running meaningful events for employees, and successfully installing prayer/meditation rooms in many locations. The company has expanded its focus on mental health, including developing mental health helplines for schools, and creating an opioid overdose prevention program. Recently, Cigna has begun providing training to employees on poverty and social determinants of health, and created the Building Equity and Equality Program; a multifaceted program to address health inequalities in communities of color in the United States. Cigna has also collaborated with companies in Israel to fund work around wrist oxygen sensors. 

6. Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO), Communications Equipment

Currently, more than 85% of Cisco’s electricity needs are generated from renewable sources, alongside Cisco’s other clean technology achievements which include energy efficient data centers, LEED green building construction, solar installations, circular design initiatives to reduce and reuse packaging, reduction of virgin plastics, and electronics take-back and recycling programs. Through JLens’ dialogue, the company shared its strong religious inclusion practices such as fair accommodation of religious holidays and dietary needs. Cisco has an established partnership with the Israeli government to accelerate the country’s equitable access to digital resources, and has invested in Palestinian technology companies and fostered economic partnerships between Israeli and Palestinian entrepreneurs. Cisco is also a leader in working to bridge the digital divide through initiatives such as creating technology capacity and training in indigenous communities in the US, and working with government leaders to assess countries’ digital readiness. 

7. Citigroup (NYSE: C), Banks

Citigroup (Citi) works to increase financial inclusion, working with minority banking institutions and creating access to banking and credit in minority communities. The company launched a $1 billion strategic initiative to provide greater access to banking and credit in communities of color, increase investment in Black-owned businesses, expand homeownership, and advance anti-racist practices in the financial services industry. Citi will stop financing thermal coal projects by 2030, and 100% of the company’s operations are powered by renewable energy. The company has a fintech lab in Tel Aviv, and has the largest presence of any foreign financial institution in Israel. The company’s CEO is female, and the company is committed to reducing its unadjusted pay gap between female and male employees.

8. Estee Lauder (NYSE:EL), Personal Care Products

Estee Lauder has demonstrated its commitment and inclusion both within its workforce and within its product offerings. The company has committed to aggressive targets around gender, aiming to reach gender parity both for its board of directors and senior leadership by 2025. Estee Lauder is also focused on creating more inclusive products, from Bobbi Brown foundation that is inclusive of more skin tones, to Bumble & Bumble products for a larger number of hair textures. The company has also demonstrated leadership in the sustainability arena, powering 100% of their direct operations with renewable energy, and achieving zero waste to landfills from all of their global manufacturing and operations. To create a more just workforce, Estee Lauder initiated the HERproject, focused on strengthening and improving conditions of female workers at two packaging suppliers in China. Estee Lauder has been targeted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign and, despite the campaign, the company continues to have a large presence in Israel with offices and sales of products in Israel.

9. GE Healthcare (NASDAQ: GEHC), Health Care Equipment

GE Healthcare’s hub in Israel employs more than 400 people and is an active contributor to the Israeli health care industry, focusing largely on R&D. GE Healthcare supports access to health care in the developing world with initiatives like Project ECHO, an innovative capacity-building program that trains primary care providers to treat more patients with chronic, complex conditions, as well as Safe Surgery 2020, which provides access to safe and affordable surgical and anesthetic care in underserved communities in Africa and Southeast Asia. GE, which GE Healthcare recently spun off from, also demonstrates commitment to religious coexistence by supporting a multifaith employee group, providing dietary accommodations, and offering floating holidays. GE supports diversity through its workforce with equitable hiring practices, achieving and disclosing pay equity, and supporting an active disability employee group. 

10.Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD), Pharmaceuticals 

Gilead has an office in Israel that provides medical, sales, and marketing support for Gilead’s products in Israel. Gilead conducts CSR work in Israel. For example, during the pandemic, when people living with HIV in Israel were unable to travel to medical appointments on public transportation, Gilead employees collaborated with advocacy groups and HIV clinics to create a program to safely transport patients. Throughout 2020, the program’s shuttles logged more than 5,000 miles. Diversity in clinical trials is of utmost importance to Gilead, and they have actively worked to recruit Black participants for HIV trials, especially as HIV disproportionately affects Black communities. When Gilead developed a drug to fight Covid, they made it available in developing countries through voluntary licenses. Sustainability is also integral at Gilead; the company has used principles of green chemistry to decrease chemical waste and the company has set science-based greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. In terms of religious inclusion in the workplace, Gilead offers floating holidays and includes a clause on religious attire in its dress code.

11.  IBM (NYSE: IBM), Technology

IBM has a large presence in Israel with labs and offices in Haifa, Givatayim, and Be’er Sheva. IBM has developed programs to recruit employees from diverse sectors of Israeli society, focusing on those from Arab and Ultra-Orthodox backgrounds. IBM has also developed programs that teach STEM skills and prepare students for university or other vocational and certification programs, with the ultimate goal to provide digital skills and training to 30 million people by 2030. The company has also worked to make its field more inclusive, developing responsible AI principles, and investing $250 million by 2025 in apprenticeship and ‘new-collar’ programs, which offer alternative paths to in-demand skills and tech industry jobs. IBM also supports diversity within its workforce through various mentorship and re-entry programs. IBM has many best practices for religious inclusion in the workplace, including prayer space in its offices, floating holidays, and dietary accommodations.

12. llumina (NASDAQ: ILMN), Life Sciences Tools & Services

Illumina has a history of strong partnerships in Israel, working with local hospitals on genetic disease sequencing to help critically ill newborns. This project has been so successful that the Israeli government will now reimburse the cost of genomic sequencing as a diagnostic tool. Illumina also has many of the best practices for religious inclusion in the workplace, including offering flexible time-off for religious holidays, addressing religious dress in its dress code, and publishing global holidays in an internal calendar. Additionally, the company is focused on expanding genomic literacy among health care professionals, and increasing affordability; Illumina’s goal is to create a $100 genome, and currently Illumina helps underserved families with whole genome sequencing. Illumina also demonstrates a commitment to environmental sustainability, setting a science-based greenhouse gas emissions target to reduce scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions 46% by 2030, and incorporating principles of sustainable design into their products.

13. Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), Semiconductors

Intel is an industry leader across several environmental and social factors and has substantial business ties to Israel. Intel employs more than 12,000 employees in multiple offices across Israel, and has CSR initiatives in Israel focused on advancing science and technology education. During the height of the pandemic, employees in Israel designed a device for local seniors which made it easy for them to Zoom into Passover Seders at the press of a button. Currently, 93% of Intel’s global operations run on renewable energy. To address the lack of supply of skilled female and minority workers in technical positions, Intel is investing millions of dollars in STEM education at the high school and college levels, as well as working with universities to encourage more women and minorities to pursue STEM careers. Intel is also committed to changing language in engineering to become more inclusive, and has developed responsible AI principles. Intel has adopted JLens-identified best practices to promote religious coexistence, including supporting many different faith-based employee groups. 

14. Marriott International (NASDAQ: MAR), Hotel and Leisure

Marriott is a leader in ethical recruitment to address vulnerability of migrant workers, and educates employees and the hotel industry on sex trafficking and forced labor. Marriott has hotels in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. During the pandemic, Marriott used its empty properties as soup kitchens and shelters, including at its properties in Israel. The company is also a sector leader in its sustainability work, and has recently initiated a sustainable tourism project in various of its Asian properties. Marriott continues to demonstrate strong performance in managing energy use in its operations through energy reduction goals, employing innovative efficiency programs and partnerships. Marriott has many policies concerning religious coexistence like floating holidays, inclusive dress codes, and prayer spaces.

15. Mastercard (NYSE: MA), Financial Services

Mastercard is committed to sustainability, powering 100% of its direct operations with renewable energy. Recently Mastercard opened a fintech and cybersecurity innovation lab in Beersheva, Israel, which will work with Israeli startups to develop solutions for the payments and energy industries. The company is committed to digital inclusion, aiming to bring one billion people, 50 million small businesses and 25 million female entrepreneurs into the digital economy by 2025. Gender inclusion is an important focus for Mastercard, having grown their Girls4Tech STEM program to reach 3.6 million girls, as well as developing mentoring and training programs for female employees within the company.  

16. Medtronic (NYSE: MDT), Medical Devices 

Medtronic recognizes Israel as a hub of innovation in the medical device space, and an area where they have a meaningful and expanding presence. The company engages in R&D in Israel, in addition to direct manufacturing, as well as its acquisition of multiple Israeli companies. Medtronic is committed to fostering religious coexistence, supporting an active Jewish employee group, and engaging in best practices such as providing dedicated spaces for prayer and meditation, offering a floating holiday, and ensuring unconscious bias training is mandatory for all managers. Medtronic attempts to remove all barriers to access in creating diverse clinical trial groups, by engaging diverse partners, working with clinicians, and updating study methodologies to be more inclusive. 

17. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Systems Software

Microsoft is committed to be carbon negative by 2030 and by 2050 to remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975. The company is committed to diversity, setting aggressive targets for underrepresented groups in management, and working to create access to technology in minority and rural communities. The company’s diversity program includes an emphasis on religious inclusion, providing dietary accommodations, flexible religious holidays and an inclusive dress code. Microsoft has a significant presence in Israel, with a R&D Center in Haifa and main campus in Herzliya, focused on security advanced threat analytics. According to Microsoft Israel, more than 70% of its management in Israel are women. Microsoft has also focused on technology education in Israel for marginalized populations, such as its QueenB program for young women. Additionally, Microsoft developed their AI for Health initiative that supports the use of AI for professionals working on global health challenges.

18. Procter and Gamble (NYSE: PG), Household Products

Procter and Gamble (P&G) is committed to environmental sustainability, using 100% RSPO certified palm oil, and 100% third-party certified wood pulp in all of its products. The company is committed to 100% of its consumer packaging to be designed to be recyclable or reusable by 2030. As part of the company’s Ambition 2030 initiative, each brand has committed to a certain issue; Tide is encouraging cold water washing, Always has created the impactful “Like a Girl” campaign to promote gender equality, and Pantene is combating hair discrimination and encouraging waterless products in Japan and Indonesia. P&G is proud to have strong customer relationships in Israel, with their brands being found in 98% of Israeli households. 

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