Corporate transparency is not just a movement. It's the core belief that all organizations should be honest, open, and straightforward with their customers, their competitors, and themselves. In the digital age, transparency is good for everybody. It leads to a more egalitarian and connected world and to more efficient and trustworthy companies.
Gone are the days of power in secrecy. In 2020, the best businesses are transparent ones.
Using information from our own database, interviews, company websites, and other public documents, The Org has compiled a list of the world’s most transparent companies in 2020. We considered companies who are actively transparent in the way they operate, taking into account aspects around:
- Growth or Funding Numbers
Here are 2020's most transparent companies:
1. Gitlab: It's no surprise that GitLab, the world's largest all-remote organization, is also its most transparent. The open-source DevOps platform operates almost exclusively in public, from support tickets to blog posts to Slack messages, and even live-streams bug fixes and patch updates.
2. Front: A customer communication tool, Front has an employee NPS of 97 in part because of how much information they share internally. The company believes that, "by eliminating the power that can come from being one of only a few with access to information, we reduce internal politics and strife." Front also has a public roadmap and shares fundraising decks.
3. Patagonia: A favorite of both hikers and venture capitalists, Patagonia puts its supply chain in the public eye, allowing customers to know exactly where their clothing is coming from. By publishing videos called "Footprint Chronicles," consumers are granted an almost-unprecedented window into their purchasing power, allowing everyone to make more eco-friendly decisions.
4. Buffer: The social media management software startup takes financial transparency to the next level by publishing the salaries of all employees, complete with factors like local cost of living and prior experience. Buffer also keeps a public tracker of its own diversity numbers and actively encourages the companies it works with to follow transparency guidelines.
5. Warby Parker: The eyewear and contact lens disrupter has always been focused on improving the supply chain not only to lower costs to consumers, but to ensure ethical manufacturing processes. By using a clear supply chain and holding its suppliers to defined standards, Warby Parker is using transparency to avoid forced labor and economic exploitation.
6. Zappos: As the founder + CEO of online shoe retailer Zappos, the late, great Tony Hsieh was a visionary in e-commerce, customer service, and transparency. Zappos was one of the first online stores to open up its internal information to outside vendors by creating an extranet that shows complete visibility into the busines, a move that lowered costs and built decades-long relationships for everyone involved.
7. Figma: This design software tool was built to make design, a historically siloed trade, accessible to everyone. Figma's transparent tools, like screen following and collaborative uploads, allows companies to design in real-time with their clients instead of just sending over a final iteration.
8. Change.org: The petition and social change website releases financials, roadmaps, and business strategy within its annual Impact Report. In 2019, Change.org also published the goals and strategies of a new Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council alongside its models and revenue numbers.
9. Netflix: Streaming giant Netflix has such a unique strategy for internal transparency, like requiring board members to attend senior management meetings throughout the year, that Stanford's Business School wrote a paper on it. Externally, its jobs site has one of the more robust culture documents of any company page, but particularly for one in media, and its blog is full of interesting, behind the scenes technical decisions.
10. Otis: By allowing anyone to invest in pieces of art, fashion, and culture, Otis is democratizing fields that have previously thrived on opacity. The company also publishes its investor updates to the public and has an end-to-end application and hiring process.
11: Ro: The health-tech startup is focused on building a patient-centric healthcare system, which inherently means bringing transparency to a system built on obscuring costs and fees. Ro promises to give patients access to pricing, drug sourcing, and even the compensation of their physicians.
12. Slack: The messaging and team collaboration platform, recently acquired by Salesforce, pushes transparency by encouraging companies to make their Slack channels public. They also have clear, actionable goals for public good iniatives within its Slack for Good program, which includes 3 days of VTO (Volunteer Time Off) for employees.
13. Airbnb: The end-to-end travel platform disrupted the hotel industry in many ways, but a key principle was transparency between guests, hosts, and the platform to try and ensure no hidden fees or backcharges. So when COVID-19 decimated the tourism industry and forced Airbnb to lay off around 25% of its staff, it wasn't surprising to see co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky write a passionate public blog explaining the decision and how everyone was going to move forward.
14. Everlane: The direct-to-consumer clothing brand was founded on bringing the core value of radical transparency to its supply chain and sourcing. As a part of the fashion transparency movement, Everlane publishes details on the sustainability and ethics of its manufacturing process and also breaks down exactly how much money goes into each phase of clothing production, including publicizing the actual cost vs. markup.
15. Abzu: This Danish AI startup has flat structure instead of a hierarchy - no bosses. Employees decide their own salaries, which is public to everyone on the team, and all employees have access to board materials as well as the drive to what everyone else is working on. "Transparency is lauded as a platform for clarity and accessibility, but it doesn’t promise ease! It’s hard conversations and soft underbellies," said Elyse Sims, Marketing Lead at Abzu. "It’s pure, unadulterated vulnerability and requires immense courage and humanity."
17. Insider: The media organization that runs Business Insider and other news sites, Insider hosts an in-depth internal blog that includes regular interviews with top management, publishes a biweekly newsletter with behind-the-scenes looks into the private company, and has an info-packed careers page for future employees. They also have open salaries internally so that every employee knows where they stand. "For Insider, transparency is about more than just making our employees feel good – it also makes us more effective as a company," said Mario Ruiz, SVP of Communications. "We keep our team informed, enthusiastically invite questions and feedback, and encourage open and honest dialogue in all that we do, creating a workforce that is more diverse, equitable and inclusive."
19. Wikimedia Foundation: The non-profit that runs Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation has a culture of information sharing and openness, especially in how they use and share data. In its biannual transparency reports, the foundation gives a detailed rundown of how they answer and release outside requests for data.
20. Reformation: Another fashion and clothing company involved in the transparency movement, Reformation publishes the environmental and social impact of its products in all communications. The company also publishes detailed information on their sourcing and supply chain.
21. Contentful: The content platform publishes detailed case studies with honest analysis about its value add and how users interact with the product and also frequently blogs about its public roadmap.
22. Shutterstock: Internally, the senior leadership at this stock photo website provides full roadmap and planning to the entire company on a biweekly basis, and externally, the company empowers photographers to get discovered, recognized, and paid for their work within the historically-opaque photo rights market.
23. Purple: Outside of having one of the most detailed and extensive FAQs of any sleep-product or mattress company on the market, Purple also releases in-depth details on its material, fabrication, and production processes.
24. Cuttles: The Danish startup-builder makes sure the development tools they offer clients give visibility of the whole operation to everyone at the organization, from transparent cap tables to product roadmaps to equity shares to investor relations.
25. Baremetrics: The founder of this SaaS metrics and analytics company, Josh Pigford, often writes about internal sales and revenue data, including breaking down every detail of the sale of the company in November.
26. Deel: A payroll platform dedicated to remote workers, Deel enables companies to offer employees all over the world access to the same information around earnings, taxes, benefits, and other streamlined HR tools.
27. Blue Bottle Coffee: Part of the "Third Wave of Coffee" movement, Blue Bottle has been widely recognized for openness about pricing, where its coffee comes from, how the beans are sourced, and the logistics of its global supply chain.
28. Twitter: The social media giant runs an entire Transparency Center to triage requests about information and in the lead-up to the November Presidential Election, frequently opened up in public about its moderation and disinformation philosophies.
29. Mindwork: This online counseling service is attempting to erase the stigmas around therapy in Italy by using the power of internal transparency as a tool to allow employees to focus on their mental health.
30. Notion: By publishing an open product development roadmap and blogs around how they use their own product internally, this digital workspace tool lets its users know exactly what they're prioritizing and what they're working on next.
31. The New York Times: The unofficial newspaper of record, the Times publishes an entire page on its mission and values, including the history of the 169-year-old publication, its ethical positions, and its self-perceived role in the world.
32. Lyft: Ride-sharing and alternative transportation giant Lyft has created detailed looks into its team culture, particularly on its career page, and also publishes a self-reflective Inclusion and Diversity Report annually.
33. Github: By building the infrastructure for the Free-and-Open-Source-Software movement, Github enables companies and organizations to make their code publically accessible for mass collaboration on critical projects, and they also publish a public roadmap on new features in development.
34. Whole Foods: In 2018, the national grocery chain became the first of its kind to offer full GMO transparency for every product, and it's GMO verification process has had an influence on the entire industry, from farm to store.
35. Templafy: This Danish compliant business document platform holds a weekly all-hands meeting that stresses shared work and collaborative feedback from all levels, and the company also builds in public and runs a growth and team focused blog.
36. Google: Famous for cultivating an open internal culture, Google gives new hires access to almost all the company's code alongside the OKRs and objectives of every other employee, and on Fridays, everyone is encouraged to ask the founders questions about anything at large all-hands meetings.
37. Intercom: The customer messaging products suite has built a strong company culture around internal communication, today holding a bi-weekly ask-me-anything with CEO Karen Peacock, a Friday afternoon show and tell across all teams, and publishing a weekly internal newsletter.
38. KIND: Crucial to its success as a food company with a flat hierarchical structure, KIND hires with team trust in mind, which has allowed it to independently push for better and more honest food labeling and make an impact on nutrition labeling by forcing new additions like "added sugars."
39. Tettra: Co-founder Andy Cook has stressed the value of internal transparency to growing companies, encouraging startups to use the internal knowledge bases and wikis which Tettra creates to make sure all employees, veterans and rookies included, are on the same page.
40. 3DLOOK: With a team of 60+ distributed around the world, this digital body mapping company provides frequent looks into its internal culture through a personal careers page and social media accounts as well as maintaining a public org chart, which 3DLOOK believes is key to how employees work and interact with each other.
41. Fishtown Analytics: Through focusing on analytics for engineering workflows, Fishtown has created a mission and product to give analysts transparency into data, and because they are remote-first, the company showcases its entire org chart publicly.
42. Scalero: The e-commerce consulting agency employs an internal knowledge base to share all resources, OKRs, and individual responsibilities across teams, making critical knowledge available to all employees as soon as they start.
43. Hyperscience: By making something complicated - the massive amount of data gleaned from robust AI for enterprise systems - comprehensible and available to all internal stackholders, Hyperscience is enabling comapanies to make data-driven decisions about their own operations as an entire team, not just through technical analysis.
44. Hubspot: The CRM platform has a "No Door" policy in its offices and has created a culture focused on cross-department collaboration by granting all employees full access to HubSpot's P&L statements, cash balances, slide decks for board meetings, and long-term strategies.
45. Valve: Without any internal company hierarchy, direct reports, or top-down employee assignments, this video game developer and publisher relies on its team to choose what they work on and share everything openly, creating a creative and collaborative culture where CEO Gabe Newell has as much power as anyone else.
46. Calvin Klein: After getting special remarks for its internal culture and processes, Calvin Klein was ranked one of the most transparant brands in fashion by the fifth annual Fashion Transparency Index.
47. Founders Fund: The venture capital firm - which is an investor in The Org - created a "transparent term sheet" that calculates the impact of options, dilutions, and liquidations in different exit scenarios for startup founders.
48. Course Hero: The online learning platform offers pupils and educators access to a wide range of educational resources to help students from all backgrounds be successful, and they also, "invite all colleagues to share ideas and give feedback anytime and encourage this behavior in daily operations through all hands meetings, surveys, listening sessions, office hours and other forums."
50. Witch Doctor Gaming: This gaming community has an active public org chart as well as an internal community tool that shows team members information about their peers, and this transparency has helped the 100% volunteer organization recruit dozens of people.
53. Kapwing: Founder Julia Enthoven built a transparent reputation by blogging brutally honest stories about co-founder conflicts, engineering hiccups, and the other struggles of starting a Silicon Valley startup while her collaborative content-creating platform was raising a seed round.
54. National Business Capital & Services: The small business loans marketplace was recently named the No. 1 place to work in Long Island by Newsday and also won the newspaper's "New Ideas" award for the willingness to implement new ideas from anyone at any level of the company.
55. Remix: By building a planning platform for public transportation, Remix embeds itself in larger societal infastructure to give cities and citizens more visibility into how they can operate better and more efficently.
56. Collective: The back-office tool designed for the self-employed, Collective builds software that gives independent contractors a clear look into tax, accounting, and bookkeeping for their businesses, as well as runs an exhaustive blog on how they use their own product.
57. Metromile: The pay-per-mile car insurance company saves customers money with in-car trackers that help calculate accurate rates, and in order to build the trust to do that, they make it extremely clear what the collected data is being used for and how it lowers costs to the individual user.
58. American Express: A more recent convert to transparency, the credit card company was a new inclusion this year to the annual Transparency Awards, which tracks public financial disclosures and releases to investors, joining 2020's Top 20 list after improvements in its disclosure processes.
59. Red Hat: The open-source enterprise software company created "memo-list," an internal social media tool, to make communication between employees more open and to create an equal playing field to express ideas.
60. Hedvig: This Swedish insurance company created a new, trust-based model by practicing openness on claims and returns with its clients and not disputing claims, which Hedvig says has led to customers that are 10 times happier than the industry average.
61. strongDM: By allowing DevOps teams to control access to infrastructure, strongDM provides an audit trail and transparent pricing to customers, and also outlines the future company roadmap on its blog.
62. REI: As one of the more well-known co-op businesses in the world, outdoor equipment and clothing retailer REI is completely transparent about its corporate governance, board proceedings, and a whole host of operational details that are usually private for a company this size.
65. ATP Tour: The governing body of the professional tennis circuit introduced the HawkEye electronic line judge system this year, granting players and fans an incredibly detailed look at close line calls and increasing trust in the sport.
66. Atlassian: Based on internal data that says 87% of employees want to work for transparent and open companies, team-software giant Atlassian focuses product offerings around breaking team silos and improving the internal flow of information.
67. Bixal: This digital marketing agency publically releases detailed case studies into its work and releases much of the product itself publically, since the work Bixal does is for governments and in the public interest.
69. IBM: A long-time champion of transparency in technology, IBM pioneered the release of yearly data transparency reports, while its AI iniative focuses on making that tech explainable, open-source, public, and trustworthy through a variety of public disclosures and open software projects.
70. Microsoft: The tech giant not only created a first-of-its-kind Microsoft Transparency Center in Brussels to deal with information sharing, but also pivoted to focus more on disclosure and prevention in matters of data security, employing bug bounties and open change-logs.
71. Superhuman: For its first year of operation, the CEO of this lightning-fast email client, Rahul Vohra, would go through a one-on-one onboarding with every new user, plus the company has a flat structure and is known for its open approach with customers.
72. Bitcoin Association: As the Switzerland-based non-profit that created Bitcoin SV, the mission and goals of the Bitcoin Association center around open governance and decentralized finance, and they also release detailed reports on their own operation.
73. The Walt Disney Company: The entertainment behometh makes an outsized effort to invite the public into its history, strategy, and supply chain, plus former CEO Bob Iger wrote a revealing and vulnerable book this year on 30 years of the company's successes and failures.
74. SeatGeek: Lauded by the Harvard Business Scool for creating price transparency in the ticket market, this marketplace makes prices across all re-sellers searchable and aggregates data to make the market for live events better for consumers, not scalpers.
75. AllVoices: An anonymous reporting tool for employees to report harassment or bias of their leadership, AllVoices also uses its tool internally and extensively in an effort to build a "bottom-up" culture.
77. Lendable: Offering loans and credit to fintech firms in developing and emerging markets means operating in less-regulated economic spaces, so in order to be viable, Lendable has to spend more time communicating how it operates as well as practice transparency in its disclosures.
78. The Coca-Cola Company: The world's largest beverage company was ranked the most transparent Consumer Staples company by the 2020 Transparency Awards for the quality and accessibility of its disclosures.
80. Morning Brew: The co-founders of this daily email newsletter, Alex Lieberman and Austin Rief, both regularly discuss their company, personal ambitions, and strategies online, including writing 30 essays in 30 days on new product ideas for Morning Brew.
81. Percolate: Outside of weekly goal and Q+A meetings, the content marketing platform's number one rule is to talk to each other, to the point where it requires employees to speak in everyday language and avoid technical jargon.
83. Aasted: A 100+ year old Danish manufacturer of production products for chocolates, bakeries, and confectioneries, Aasted publicizes its mission, vision, history, values, philosophy, and job satisfaction all in public, and also creates annual Corporate Social Responsibility reports.
84. Pento: The automated payroll platform for companies in the UK and Denmark posts a public employee handbook and many internal company documents in a Notion doc, which provides a deep level of insight into its operations and vision.
85. Vodafone: The British multinational telecommunications conglomerate has been publishing Law Enforcement Disclosure transparency reports since 2014 to explain how it responds to lawful demands for access to private data, and was also described by AccessNow as setting the bar for telecom companies looking to respect rights on challenges to privacy.
88. Twitch: By launching a program to disclose details around sponsored content and promotions, the streaming service is trying to make the oft-unclear world of influencer product endorsements more open.
89. Scribd: A digital library and audio subscription service, Scribd enables organizations to publish large documents, allowing for a wider range of online knowledge to be made public without forcing startups to host the data themselves or pay exorbitantly.
90. PragmatIC: Due to being in the business of providing low-cost electronics for smart objects and therefore having to solve unique technical challenges, PragmatIC has found success by being honest about both progress and problems in its processess, both with clients and on its blog.
91. Osmind: The software platform for mental health providers, patients, and researchers, Osmind hosts an open forum for mental health care patients and providers to openly discuss conditions and treatments, and also hosts an open research platform for collaboration.
92. Noodle: By pioneering the hybrid-OPM model for online courses in higher education, Noodle is completely open with universities about its pricing structures and says that it releases more information on employment at schools than any other platform.
94. Tot Squad: Internally, while direct messages at this mobile service for baby gear installations and safety checks are not necessarily forbidden, there is an emphasis on having conversations in open channels so that anyone, including new employees, can absorb all the same knowledge.
95. Task Pigeon: The task management tool has a transparent startup blog with revealing details about the positives of the business, like hiring a new CEO, along with the negatives, like losing a $100k investment.
97. Kickstarter: The crowdfunding platform has led efforts this year to create a new series of guidelines to make project descriptions more honest, and as a B Corp, it puts out a yearly public benefit statement.
99. The NBA: The league has tried to emphasize a greater connection to referees and how games are called by coming out with a Video Rulebook as well as producing NBA TV's "Making the Call," where an officiating director explains and analyzes tough calls.
100. SquareFoot: The CEO of this commerical real estate company, Jonathan Wasserstrum, hosts a biweekly, all-hands meeting where all questions are welcome and encouraged, including group discussions about the state of the business.