The book describes economic, social, and political forces across the globe that are changing the contours of the playing field on which companies compete.  In order to continue to survive and thrive, companies are increasingly required to demonstrate “good” behavior in all that they do.

We examine specific company behavior through three of its primary roles: how the company acts as an employer, as a seller, and as a steward of the community and environment. A good company is one that starts with good intentions and then puts those into practice concretely through its actions in these three areas.

Most companies haven’t fully achieved “good” status yet; most have advanced part of the way down the continuum toward being a good company.  And even the most advanced companies still have multiple areas where they can improve.

Through our Good Company Index, we rank each of the Fortune 100 companies on the continuum, assigning a Good Company grade, from A to F, to each.  To do so, we gathered data from multiple sources about company actions with respect to their employers, customers, community, and environment.

It is important to note that we did not judge particular industries to be inherently good or bad.  Many industries (e.g., oil, financial services, entertainment) have generated vehement opposition from some segments of the population, and industry is often used to screen companies for inclusion in socially-responsible mutual funds, for example.

We steered clear of industry-based debates, opting instead for alternative company-based criteria in assessing organizations on the good company scale.