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Sustainability and balance sheets: 100 top corporate citizens

Posting in Energy

Japan boasts most businesses on the list by Corporate Knights magazine, followed by the United States and the United Kingdom.

Norwegian energy company Statoil ASA wound up at the head of the latest Corporate Knights magazine's Global 100 list, which features the best of the best when it comes to large companies focusing on the triple bottom line--giving weight to people, planet and profit. The company unseated last year's leader, General Electric, which now comes in at No. 11.

In case you're wondering why an oil and gas production company is at the top of this list, this isn't your average corporate sustainability or green business list. The ranking, which was compiled with the help of Legg Mason's Global Currents Investment Management and Phoenix Global Advisors, is unique in that it looks at top-performing stocks according to various indexes and THEN rates those companies from a sustainability standpoint. But Statoil's inclusion is definitely noteworthy, when you look at all the different balance sheet considerations that go into the list selection:

  • Energy productivity (Sales/total direct and indirect energy consumption)
  • Carbon productivity (Sales/total carbon dioxide and carbon emissions equivalents)
  • Water productivity (Sales/total water use)
  • Waste productivity (Sales/total amount of waste produced)
  • Leadership diversity (% of women on the board)
  • CEO-to-average worker pay
  • % tax paid
  • Safety productivity
  • Sustainability renumeration (is there a senior executive whose salary depends on sustainability progress and results?)
  • Innovation capacity (over three years time)
  • Transparency and corporate reporting policy

Says Corporate Knights editor Toby Heaps:

"The Global 100 are charting out a new prosperity agenda reconciling the megatrend of sustainability with the mega-institution of the corporation. The kicker: sustainability can be a market-beating strategy, as the Global 100's substantial outperformance demonstrates."

The data is verified by the Corporate Knights Research Group and the Bloomberg Professional Service.

Here are the top 10 companies on the 2011 list:

  1. Statoil
  2. Johnson & Johnson
  3. Novozymes
  4. Nokia
  5. Umicore
  6. Intel
  7. Astrazeneca
  8. Credit Agricole
  9. Storebrand
  10. Danske Bank

This ranking reminds us that sustainability always must be considered in the context of the bottom line.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure