In this article, we will discuss the 15 Most Sustainable Companies in the World. You can skip our industry overview and go directly to the 5 Most Sustainable Companies in the World.
Sustainability has been a key theme over the past few years, given the rising awareness in the general population about the negative effects of carbon emissions and the release of toxicants in the environment. To keep up with the trend, companies around the world have begun to make efforts in order to reduce their carbon footprint and operate in an environmentally sustainable manner. The shift towards sustainability in businesses is driven by a combination of economic, social, and environmental factors. Although the social pressure from consumers does play its part in companies moving towards sustainable production, many companies are now recognizing the benefits of sustainable practices, such as reducing waste and improving resource efficiency, that can lead to cost savings and increased profitability. In a survey by Accenture, 84% of the participating companies intended to increase investments in sustainability measures by the end of 2022. The market researcher further reported that this percentage was up by 4 percentage points since 2021.
Recent geopolitical issues have also made countries and businesses realize the importance of the transition to renewable energy. The Russia-Ukraine war had an adverse impact on global supply chains, which caused energy prices to go haywire, causing devastation in countries that do not have natural oil and gas reserves or refining facilities. Calling the war in Ukraine a "decisive moment," the IEA estimates that renewable power will grow as much in the next five years as it did in the last two decades.
Carbon neutrality, reducing GHG emissions from operations and supply chains, producing recyclable products, enhancing diversity, lowering hunger or accident rates, and so on are some of the most prominent sustainability goals that corporations have made in recent years. Businesses have regularly used the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to influence their sustainability strategy. These businesses also want their stakeholders to be kept up to date on their progress toward these objectives, which explains the rise in ESG reporting. According to KPMG, 96% of G250 corporations reported on sustainability or ESG issues in 2021.
However, sustainability pledges do not always turn into actions. According to Bain & Company, business decarbonization obligations increased by 77% in 2022, yet one-third of enterprises failed to satisfy operational decarbonization goals due in 2021.
One way for corporations to make progress in line with the global move towards sustainability is to adhere to climate targets established by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The SBTi was founded in 2015 as a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, the World Resources Institute, and the World Wide Fund for Nature. Companies undergoing target validation receive detailed advice and support from SBTi's climate experts to set targets that are consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The initiative saw exponential growth in 2021, when the number of companies signing up for this initiative doubled, and the rate at which new targets were validated tripled. At the end of 2022, more than 4,000 companies covering over a third of the global economy’s market capitalization were setting targets or committing to doing so via the SBTi.
To come up with the 15 most sustainable companies in the world, we have used Corporate Knights Global 100 ranking for sustainable companies of 2023. Corporate Knights has analyzed more than 6,000 public companies with a minimum revenue of over $1 billion and have evaluated these companies in areas such as % sustainable revenue, % sustainable investment, carbon productivity, and racial and gender diversity. We have picked the top 15 highest-ranked companies in terms of sustainability and have listed them down below.
15 Most Sustainable Companies in the World
15. Banco do Brasil S.A. (BBAS3.SA)
Banco do Brasil S.A. (BBAS3.SA) is a Brazilian financial services firm. The company offers a range of banking and financial products and services, including loans, savings accounts, credit cards, insurance, and investment products. As a member of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, Banco do Brasil S.A. (BBAS3.SA) has agreed to disclose its portfolio's exposure to carbon-intensive industries. The bank has designated the coal (mining) and oil and gas sectors as restricted operations, requiring Environmental Impact Studies and related papers such as Ecological-Economic Zoning. As of December 2021, the bank’s coal sector had a loan portfolio weightage of 0.0003%, while the oil and gas sector had a weight of 2.7%.
14. Sims Limited (SGM.AX)
Sims Limited (SGM.AX) is an Australian company that specializes in metal and electronics recycling. Sims Limited (SGM.AX) operates through its three major business segments. Sims Metal, their metal recycling division, buys, processes, and sells ferrous and nonferrous metal to manufacturers in 30 countries. Sims Resource Renewal takes the material left over after recycling cars and end-of-life consumer goods and, rather than throwing it away, uses it as a resource to create valuable products. It intends to use more than 1 million tonnes of this material to produce new goods by 2030. Sims Lifecycle Services provides a wide range of IT asset disposition (ITAD) and e-waste recycling solutions.
According to Sims Limited’s (SGM.AX) sustainability report for 2022, 37% of the electricity company used in FY22 came from renewable sources, and it recycled 8.10 million tonnes of metal.
13. Ørsted A/S (ORSTED.CO)
Ørsted A/S (ORSTED.CO) is a Danish renewable energy company. The company develops, constructs, and operates offshore and onshore wind turbines, solar farms, energy storage facilities, renewable hydrogen, green fuels facilities, and bioenergy plants. In 2021, Ørsted A/S (ORSTED.CO) became the first energy firm in the world – and one of only seven companies worldwide – to have an SBTi-validated aim of reaching net-zero emissions across their whole value chain (scope 1-3) by 2040. Ørsted A/S (ORSTED.CO) is also on track to achieve carbon neutrality in their energy generation and operations (scope 1-2) by 2025.
12. Xinyi Solar Holdings Limited (0968.HK)
Xinyi Solar Holdings Limited (0968.HK) is a Chinese publicly-traded company that is engaged in the manufacturing of solar photovoltaic glass and other solar products. The company claims to have a 35% market share of the photovoltaic glass market in 2021. It has four production bases with an aggregate daily melting capacity of 16,800 tonnes.
In 2021, Xinyi Solar Holdings Limited (0968.HK) supplied solar glass to satisfy the needs of 67GW modules, resulting in a CO2 reduction of 50 million tonnes per year. In the same year, they reduced their GHG emissions per unit of production by 17.7%.
11. Dassault Systèmes SE (OTC:DASTY)
Dassault Systèmes SE (OTC:DASTY) is a French software firm that provides solutions for 3D product design, simulation, and production, as well as other 3D-related products. With its 20,000 employees, Dassault Systèmes SE (OTC:DASTY) serves over 300,000 customers in more than 140 countries.
In 2021, Dassault Systèmes SE (OTC:DASTY)’s GHG-emission reduction targets got validated by SBTi, which will help the company to achieve net zero by 2040. As part of the Gender Equality Index under French Law, Dassault achieved an overall score of 94 points out of 100.
10. Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation (2633.TW)
Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation (2633.TW) is a Taiwanese company that operates the high-speed railway system in Taiwan. Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation (2633.TW) not only operates trains but also promotes energy-saving initiatives at maintenance depots and stations. The average amount of electricity consumed per passenger served at their stations was reduced from 2.25 kWh in 2008 to 1.17 kWh in 2021.
In the same year, Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation (2633.TW) increased its water-saving rate to 17.17% and solar power generation to 11,657 MWh. Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation (2633.TW) has committed to decreasing carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and 75% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.
9. Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, S.A. (SGRE.MC)
Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, S.A. (SGRE.MC) is a Spanish-German wind-engineering company. The company employs 27,000 individuals from over 100 nationalities to install and service wind turbines that generate over 122 GW of power worldwide.
The company achieved carbon neutrality in late 2019 and has its climate targets verified by the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi). The company’s next target is to become climate positive by 2040, meaning that Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, S.A. (SGRE.MC) will be eliminating more CO2 from the atmosphere than they emit.
8. Stantec Inc. (NYSE:STN)
Stantec Inc. (NYSE:STN) is a Canadian firm that provides consulting services for engineering and environmental projects. The company has 26,000 employees in over 400 locations spread across six continents.
As of yet, Stantec Inc. (NYSE:STN) has achieved carbon neutrality for operations based in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and European Union. In 2021, 53% of their gross revenue was directly generated from work related to supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Additionally, they have also validated their science-based emissions reduction target against a 1.5°C trajectory.
7. Schneider Electric S.E. (SU.PA)
Schneider Electric S.E. (SU.PA) is a French company specializing in energy management and automation solutions. Schneider Electric S.E. (SU.PA) provides a diverse selection of products to meet the electronic and other energy requirements of home and industrial customers.
Schneider Electric S.E. (SU.PA)’s target to achieve net-zero operational emissions and to reduce Scope 3 emissions by 35% by 2030 (compared to Scope 3 emissions in 2017) was validated by the SBTi in 2019.
Schneider's EcoStruxure solutions assisted customers in reducing carbon emissions by 84 million tonnes in 2021, totaling 347 million tonnes saved or avoided since 2018. Moreover, since launching The Zero Carbon Project in April 2021, Schneider Electric S.E. (SU.PA) has been working closely with 1,000 of its top suppliers to reduce operational carbon emissions by half by 2025.
6. Evoqua Water Technologies Corp. (NYSE:AQUA)
Evoqua Water Technologies Corp. (NYSE:AQUA) is an American company that provides water treatment solutions and services to customers in a range of industries, including municipal, industrial, and commercial.
Evoqua Water Technologies Corp. (NYSE:AQUA) helps more than 38,000 customers solve water challenges at over 200,000 installations in more than 150 locations across nine countries. By 2035, Evoqua Water Technologies Corp. (NYSE:AQUA) aims to recycle and reuse more water and provide innovative and sustainable water solutions to help customers conserve and protect this valuable resource.
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Disclosure: None. 15 Most Sustainable Companies in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey.