Who Is the “Best Of” of Sustainable Companies in the Important Annual Rankings? Mirror, Mirror on the Wall – What Reflection for Our Company?

G&A's Sustainability Highlights (02.07.2020)
Feb 10, 2020 12:45 PM ET

Who is the “Best Of” of Sustainable Companies in the Important Annual Rankings?…

Mirror, mirror on the wall – who is the most sustainable company of them all?  That memorable line from the Walt Disney Studios’ 1930s classic, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is being regularly applied now by a widening range of third party players in examining the performance and achievements of U.S., North American and global companies (and applying their methodologies on an ever-widening list of criteria). 

The results are published for all to see – such as this week’s Corporate Knights’ “2020 Global 100” unveiled at the World Economic Forum in Davos, which we are sharing in our Top Stories of the week.

In looking at the “fairest” of them all, or the best-in-class, in terms of corporate sustainability -- ESG ratings organizations, publishers, NGOs, investor coalitions, trade / professional associations, and others in the “ratings, rankings, scores and other recognitions” game are publishing many forms and variations of best-of lists.  These could be in applying rankings and ratings, and scores, with rationale for the selection.  Therein, important stories are told about companies in the list. (And, we should say, about those companies that are omitted.)

Besides the welcomed opportunity for corporate leaders to bask in the sunshine of the third party recognitions (“we got in this year’s best companies focused on…”), and to like the reflection in the “best of” mirror, there is are very practical aspects to these things.

Such as, the inclusion of a corporation in a critical ESG equity index / investing benchmark.  With the many examinations of companies now taking place, some of the scoring etc results have the effect of enabling a more complete, accurate and comparable corporate ESG profile as developed by the key ESG rating agencies for their investor clients.

In some cases, companies will have more information available from the third party examinations in critical ESG delivery platforms (such as in “the Bloomberg” and the Eikon platforms, in S&P Global platforms) to better package to inform and influence investors; and, lead to being recognized as a leader in a particular space by key investor coalitions (ICCR, INCR, Climate Action 100+, and more.). The latter means a multiplier effect is quickly bringing the sustainability news to more investors gathered in a community-of-interest on a topic (think of GHG emissions, climate change risk disclosure, diversity, human rights, reducing ESG impacts, supply chain accountability).

At the recent World Economic Forum meeting Davos, Switzerland, the “100 most sustainable companies of 2020” was announced.  Publisher Corporate Knights’ much-anticipated annual ranking of “most sustainable companies in the world” was the basis of the announcement.  That annual survey looks at 7,400 companies, with more than US$1 Billion in revenues, examining 21 KPIs. The stories of the companies from Fast Company and The Hill provide the details for you.  (This is the 17th year of the survey.)

At the Davos gathering this year, participants learned that almost half of the most sustainable companies were based in Europe (49); 17 were HQ in the U.S.A; 12 in Canada; 3 in Latin America, 18 in Asia, and one company in Africa. For the U.S.A., Cisco Systems is highest ranked (at #4, thanks to $25 billion generated for “clean revenues” from products with “environmental core attributes”). The #1 company is worldwide is Orsted of Denmark (renewable energy).

Our G&A Institute team closely monitors these and many other rankings, ratings, scores, corporate ESG profiles, and other critical evaluations of companies.  The results reflect the quality of management and board in the final analysis.  Company leaders are tuned in to the analysis and evaluations of their company’s ESG strategies, programs, actions, partnerships, achievements, and recognitions.

The knowledge we gain becomes part of the resources we’ve created to help our corporate clients get on and lead in the various “best of lists” – so their mirror mirror on the wall question reflects back a very welcoming image! 

And in these newsletters, we share with you the relevant news items and other content that helps to tell the story of the dramatic changes taking place in both the corporate community and in the capital markets.

This is just the introduction of G&A's Sustainability Highlights newsletter this week. Click here to view the full issue.