Toronto-based media and research company Corporate Knights has released its annual global list of the 100 most sustainable companies for 2023.
The ranking, now in its 19th year, is based on an assessment of more than 6,000 companies with revenue over US$1 billion (£805 million). Companies are scored on metrics relative to their peers, with 50% of the weight assigned to sustainable revenue and sustainable investment. After analysing the data for 25 key performance indicators, this year’s overall scores were converted to letter grades and finally a ranking.
Ralph Torrie, Corporate Knights’ research director, says rising oil prices have encouraged growth in renewables, smart buildings, electric vehicles and other climate solutions, including circular economy measures. For example, the number one ranked company, Schnitzer Steel, is a metals recycler.
“Global 100 companies are providing the products and services that are needed for the sustainability transition and that will form the basis of the emerging 21st-century economy,” said Torrie. “They’ve outperformed the market through these last few tumultuous years.”
Improving scores for carbon, energy, water and other environmental performance indicators are often indirect benefits of underlying trends (such as increasing electrification, energy efficiency and digitisation). However, the improvement in sustainable revenues and investments is generally the result of much more deliberate corporate investment policies and strategic decisions, Torrie added: “Very often, there is visionary leadership from the CEO, and the company has a clear view of the way the world is headed and how to get ahead of it.”
A fifth of the 100 companies on the list are US-based, making it the leading country for members of the index, followed by Canada with 11%. However, as a region, Europe still leads the way with 44%, while Asia Pacific hosts 22% of the ranking companies.
The leading sectors remain information technology (20%) and financial services (15%). Among the standout results of the rankings, Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo saw a huge 234% increase in its sustainable revenue ratio thanks to a combination of increased exposure to sustainable social and environmental loans and better disclosure.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, new entrants to the index included a number of pharmaceuticals groups, such as Merck, Pfizer, Novavax and Gilead Sciences. Chinese electric vehicle maker NIO and its compatriot Yadea, which produces electric bicycles, were also notable entrants, along with two companies from Taiwan: bicycle maker Giant and the Taiwan High-Speed Rail Corp. Torrie says the addition of these corporations reflects the improved reporting on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors from companies in the region.
US chipmaker Analog Devices fell out of the Global 100 because it has shown a steady worsening of its energy, carbon, water and waste productivity, and the disparity between its CEO’s pay and that of the average employee has doubled since 2020.
By contrast, battery and electric vehicle maker BYD fell out of the index even though it improved its overall performance because the car and truck manufacturing sector has become increasingly competitive. In fact, it is harder than ever to make it into the Global 100 because Corporate Knights now have a much bigger data pool to draw from since starting the index back in 2005.
The G100 methodology was refined this year in a number of areas, including executive pay. But the narrative of the 100 most sustainable companies remains the same as it has been since the index began.
“More sustainable companies are not just better for people and the planet. Even in the most challenging times, they are a better bet financially, too,” concluded the index.
See the top 100 most sustainable companies below:
|Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc
|Vestas Wind Systems A/S
|Brookfield Renewable Partners LP
|Evoqua Water Technologies Corp
|Schneider Electric SE
|Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA
|Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp
|Dassault Systemes SE
|Xinyi Solar Holdings Ltd
|Banco do Brasil SA
|Johnson Controls International PLC
|Chr Hansen Holding A/S
|Atlantica Sustainable Infrastructure PLC
|McCormick & Company Inc
|BT Group PLC
|Vitasoy International Holdings Ltd
|City Developments Ltd
|Beijing Enterprises Water Group Ltd
|ASM International NV
|Xerox Holdings Corp
|Koninklijke KPN NV
|Cogeco Communications Inc
|First Solar Inc
|Cisco Systems Inc
|Konica Minolta Inc
|Giant Manufacturing Co Ltd
|Essity AB (publ)
|Eisai Co Ltd
|Sprouts Farmers Market Inc
|CapitaLand Investment Ltd
|Sino Land Co Ltd
|Severn Trent PLC
|Intesa Sanpaolo SpA
|Gildan Activewear Inc
|Swatch Group AG
|Samsung SDI Co Ltd
|Yadea Group Holdings Ltd
|Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson
|Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co
|KB Financial Group Inc
|Maxeon Solar Technologies Ltd
|BNP Paribas SA
|Svenska Handelsbanken AB
|Sun Life Financial Inc
|Teck Resources Ltd
|Ricoh Co Ltd
|Henkel AG & Co KgaA
|Gilead Sciences Inc
|Sekisui Chemical Co Ltd
|Bank of Montreal
|Canadian Tire Corporation Ltd
|National Australia Bank Ltd
|IGM Financial Inc
|Nordea Bank Abp
|Societe Generale SA
|Koninklijke Philips NV
The full Corporate Knights Global 100: Most sustainable companies report can be found here.
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