Top 10 sustainable companies
Which companies stand out for their green credentials? Energy Digital finds out.
This article explores the world’s top 10 most sustainable companies, according to a report released in January 2018 by Canadian financial information company and magazine, Corporate Knights. The report examines over 6,000 companies worldwide, across all industries, with an annual reported revenue of over $1bn. Companies are scored based on “energy use, carbon, waste and clean air production, innovation expenditures, taxes paid, the diversity of leadership, leadership compensation, suppliers the companies work with, pension fund health, safety ratings, employee turnover and the link between sustainability targets and senior executive pay”, according to Forbes Magazine. Here are the companies that made the top 10.
10 | Samsung SDI
South Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung SDI is headquartered in Yongin and operates through two subsegments: Display and Energy, which manufacture PDPs for flat screen televisions and batteries, respectively. At the heart of Samsung SDI’s environmental policy is a commitment to “the goal of environmental sustainability as eco-value creation”. This is the idea that a company’s environmental impact leads to positive societal impact, which further benefits the sustainability of the company. Samsung is the only Asian company in Corporate Knights’ top 10, even though the company did not appear on the list in 2017. Samsung received a total sustainability score of 75.8%
9 | Siemens
Based in Munich, Germany, energy conglomerate Siemens manufactures and distributes “systems for power generation, power transmission, and medical diagnosis”, according to Forbes. The company reported a net revenue of $94.47bn in 2017 and, in addition to being ranked in the top 50 most valuable brands worldwide by Forbes, is also in the top 100 best employers in the USA, as well as being the eighth best in Canada. Externally, Siemens’ sustainability initiative works to align with the goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Internally, the company strives “to balance people, environment and profit”. The company received a total sustainability score of 76.7%.
8 | Autodesk Inc
A Californian company, based in San Rafael, Autodesk Inc. designs and distributes software and technical manufacturing solutions for a range of clients in the architecture, engineering and construction, manufacturing, digital media, and entertainment fields, according to Forbes. Autodesk’s sustainability model is built around the forward-facing principle that “addressing climate change while meeting the needs of a growing population is the greatest design challenge we have ever faced. It’s also the business opportunity of a lifetime”. The company reported a net revenue of $2.05bn in 2017 and received a total sustainability score of 76.9% from Corporate Knights.
7 | Cisco Systems
Based in San Jose, California, Cisco Systems designs, produces, and distributes internet networking technology for the telecommunications and communication technology industry, according to Forbes. The company is ranked 16th on Forbes’ list of the World’s Most Valuable Brands and is in the top 20 World’s Best Employers list. Cisco’s sustainability model focuses on “reducing greenhouse gas emissions, preserving biodiversity and natural resources, and designing… products to minimise waste”. The company received a total sustainability score of 77.0%.
6 | Amundi
French financial management company Amundi is headquartered in Paris, and currently handles more than $1.659trn in Assets Under Management, primarily serving retail banking networks in Europe and Asia. Managing director Fannie Wurtz announced in 2018, in response to a new US$ Corporate Bond scheme excluding “issuers involved in alcohol, tobacco, military weapons, gambling, adult entertainment, GMO and nuclear power”, that “we believe the potential of socially responsible investments will continue to grow in the future, and we are committed to offering the relevant bond and equity tools adapted to these new requirements.” Amundi received a total sustainability score of 77.8%.
5 | Outotec
Outotec, a Finnish mining, refinement, construction and engineering company is a world leader in minerals and metals processing technology. The company also provides “innovative solutions for industrial water treatment, the utilisation of alternative energy sources and the chemical industry”. Outotec’s sustainability model is centred around a ground-up approach, ensuring sustainable practices across the entire value and supply chain. “We offer sustainable mineral processing solutions, from pre-feasibility studies to complete plants and life-cycle services.” It is also the only Finnish company in the top 10. Outotec received a total sustainability score from Corporate Knights of 78.3%.
4 | UCB SA
Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, UCB SA engages in the research development and commercialisation of pharmaceutical and biotechnology products, according to Forbes. The company is ranked ninth on Forbes’ list of Top Multinational Performers, reporting 10-year high points for revenue and profits ($5.11bn and $ 849.3mn respectively) in 2017. UCB released its first sustainability report in 2017, with a manifesto centered around environmental stewardship and the provision of pharmaceutical support for epilepsy patients in developing regions. The company received a total sustainability score of 79.5%.
3 | Valeo
French technology company Valeo engages in the design, production, and sale of components, integrated systems, and modules for the automobile industry, according to Forbes. Since 2009, the company has cut CO2 emissions by 5%, spent $20.01mn on environmental protection, and in 2016 its 111,600 employees spent a combined 1.8mn hours in sponsored training programmes. Valeo reported a 10-year high net revenue of $20.92bn in 2017 and received a total sustainability score of 83.6%.
2 | Neste Oil Corp
Headquartered in Espoo, Finland, Neste Oil Corp engages in the production of petroleum products and renewable diesel, according to Forbes. 2017 is the 12th year Neste has featured on the Corporate Knights top 100 list of most sustainable companies, jumping from the 23rd position to second place, largely due to consistent improvement in the Clean Air Productivity segment. In response to the rankings, Neste announced: "Unlike in soccer or ice hockey, placing second on the Global 100 list is certainly considered a win, and we are very excited and humbled by the result.” The company reported a net revenue of $16.1bn in 2017, and received a net sustainability score of 85.2%.
1 | Dassault Systèmes SA
The 2018 Corporate Knights list of most sustainable companies featured more French companies than those of any other nation, including number one spot: Dassault Systèmes SA. Headquartered in Vélizy-Villacoublay, Dassault provides end-to-end software and programming solutions to companies, including early-stage 3D design services, virtual testing, and manufacturing operations management, with an eye to achieve waste reductions. “According to Corporate Knights, the company bested all others in the sustainability ranking by having strong female representation on its board, having a smallish gap between the pay of its CEO and its average workers, and paying more than 26% of its earnings in taxes over the past five years.” Dassault received a net sustainability score of 86.1%.