Aussies Top World’s 100 Most Sustainable
Wednesday, 29th January 2014 at 9:27 am
Five Australian companies are among the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World recently named at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Australian banking giants took the honours with Westpac topping the list, followed by ANZ Banking Group at 19 and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia at 25.
Stockland, Australia’s largest diversified property group, was also included in the index for the fifth consecutive year, this year at position 32, along with Wesfarmers at 92.
The top five were rounded out by U.S.-based biotech firm, a Finnish mining technology and capital goods company, a Norwegian oil giant and a French 3D design software company.
U.S. firms led the way, capturing 18 of 100 spots on the index, followed by Canada with 13 spots, and the U.K. and France tied for third with eight spots each.
Emerging markets accounted for three positions on the index, consisting of two firms from Brazil and one from China.
The Financials sector dominated globally, comprising over a fifth of companies on the index.
The ‘Global 100’ recognises the world’s 100 top-performing stocks, based on a range of 12 sector-specific sustainability metrics, including Energy Productivity, Safety Performance and Innovation Capacity.
The index was compiled by Corporate Knights, a Toronto-based media and investment research company, and considered all publicly traded companies that had a market capitalisation in excess of US$2 billion.
Published annually, the index has outperformed its benchmark by 3.21% since its inception in 2005.
According to Toby Heaps, CEO of Corporate Knights, the Global 100’s out-performance of 3.21per cent over this period speaks to the investment benefits of sustainability.
“The results speak for themselves. Topping a well-diversified benchmark is not easy, but the Global 100 has managed to squeak out marginal out-performance across a turbulent period in the history of the capital markets,” Heaps said.
We attribute this excess return to the growing investment relevance of core sustainability themes, including water scarcity, rising energy prices and growing competition for human capital, all of which are captured in the Global 100 methodology.”
At number 32, Stockland had a significant move up the rankings after being named at number 83 in 2013.
“To be recognised once again at the World Economic Forum is a great honour and testament to the hard work and commitment of our people in achieving excellence in sustainability,” Mark Steinert, Managing Director and CEO at Stockland, said.
“We place a high priority on sustainability and the creation of ‘shared value’ for all stakeholders, including our customers, the communities where we operate and our shareholders. Shared value is about creating vibrant, inclusive communities that are well considered and generate many different types of long-term benefits in perpetuity.”
Stockland’s energy efficiency program across its retail shopping centres alone has contributed to AU$35 million savings in energy costs and reduced CO2 emissions by 55,000 tonnes since 2006.
The group also developed the first Green Star rated retirement living village at Selandra Rise in Victoria, and worked with Jamie’s Ministry of Food to improve community education on health and wellbeing.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia welcomed their inclusion at number 25.
“I think sustainability is integral to our business. We’re about securing and enhancing the financial well being of the community,” Trent Moy, General Manager of Community and Sustainability said.
He highlighted two key programs he believed contributed to their success.
The StartSmart program designed to encourage financial literacy has seen 275,000 students from primary to TAFE level receive free training in basic money management, while the bank’s grant program sees funding of $2 million per year given to Not for Profits.