Meet the Companies That Care the Most

Welcome the Israel Corporation, Bezeq, Delta, Tower Semiconductors, Scitex and Alvarion to the list of do-gooders. And bid farewell to Hadera Paper Mills, Migdal Insurance, Alony Hetz, First International Bank, Osem and Ituran.

Yesterday, the nonprofit organization Ma'ale updated its index of companies with a social conscience. Based on data from 2004, the companies are ranked according to their concern and corporate attention to social responsibility. Ma'ale found that companies were more concerned and aware of their responsibilities to society, and increased their attention and devoted more resources to endeavors in this field. In each category that the NPO defined for social conscience, the companies registered a rise on the preceding year, Ma'ale reported.

"All companies ranked mix social responsibility with their business activities," said Ma'ale CEO Talia Aharony, "and this testifies to their willingness to report their activities and to be publicly ranked. The positioning of a company on our list shows the significant development in social responsibility among businesses in Israel, which will no doubt continue."

Heading the updated list (for the second consecutive year) was confectionery conglomerate Strauss-Elite, followed by engineering group Baran, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Bank Leumi. In fifth place came the Israel Corporation, a newcomer to the list of 20 publicly traded companies, followed by Partner, Bezeq (also new), Israel Chemicals, Bank Hapoalim, Discount Bank, Delta, Tower, Nice Systems, Scitex, Makhshetim Agan, Blue Square, Alvarion, Elbit Systems and last, but by no means least, Elbit Medical Imaging.

At the beginning of the year, Ma'ale introduced its index, comprising a list ranking the top 20 public companies that have the strongest social conscience, and that satisfy minimum trading qualifications (being a member of the TA100, and among the most 200 most highly traded companies on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange). This index, updated on June 1, has risen since its launch by around 5 percent, similar to the rise of the broader TA 100 index.

Ronit Harel Ben-Ze'ev of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange said that the launch of the index had undoubtedly encouraged publicly traded companies to join the ranking, "and to contribute to the development of socially responsible norms."

Ma'ale also ranks other companies on their social responsibility. The updated list of private companies was headed by Intel Israel, while the Rafael Arms Development Authority topped the ranking for public sector firms.