What Are the World’s Most Sustainable Companies?

If you’re interested in identifying the world’s most sustainable companies, look no further. Every year, a group called Corporate Knights compiles a quantified list of these companies. The list is released at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

The group looks at data about how companies use water, energy, and waste efficiently – the factors the general public are likely to mean when they dub something “green.” They also use an elastic concept of sustainability by looking at the financial picture and the treatment of employees.

The financial indicators include paying taxes responsibly, revenue, EBITDA, the degree of investment in innovation, and the ratio of CEO compensation to average worker pay.

The employee indicators include any reports of fatalities or lost time due to accidents, business leadership diversity, women on the board and in management, and turnover of employees.

The data makes use of public information from 4,353 international companies. Each has a market capitalization of over $2 billion. It is crunched through several screens, and each company is assigned an overall score in percentage terms.

… Drumroll, Please

So what firms make the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World? Well, first is German automaker BMW, cited for excellent sustainability practices across the board. Its overall score was 80.10%, making it the only company to score in the 80s.

The Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World #2 spot was held by France’s software company Dassault Systemes, with a score of 75.70%. Outotec, a Finnish construction and engineering firm, held down the #3 slot, with a score of 74.40%. Australia’s Commonwealth Bank of Australia came in at #4, with a 73.9% score. German apparel and textile maker Adidas, at #5, rounds out the top five, with a 73.10% score.

Western Europe continues its solid performances across countries with the next two. Spain’s gas utility company Enagas is #6, with a 72.70% score. Denmark’s Danske Bank holds the #7 position, with 72.40%.

Singapore’s StarHub, a wireless telecom service provider, comes in at #8, with a score of 71.80%. The United Kingdom’s Reckitt Benckiser Group, a maker of household products, is in the #9 position, with a 71.70% score.

Singapore’s City Developments, a real estate development firm, is the final company in the top 10, with a score of 71.30%.

The U.S.: Large Number of Companies, Middle Sustainability Performers

Forbes notes that the United States had the largest number of companies on the list, 19 out of the 20. Yet this is down one company from the year before, and no U.S. company is a top 10 global leader on the list.

The highest ranking U.S. company is Coca-Cola, at #13, with a 70.50% score. The next highest ranking by a U.S. firm is Biogen’s #30 slot. Chip maker Intel is #38, and chemical company Ecolab is #50. All other U.S. companies, including Cisco Systems, Johnson & Johnson, and General Mills, stand in the lower half of the list.

The country with the second highest number of companies was France, with stalwarts such as L’Oreal, BNP Paribas, and Renault.

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