The 2006 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations list has just been released at the World Economic Forum conference in Davos, Switzerland. This is the second annual rankings, compiled by Innovest Strategic Value Advisors (we've mentioned them before) and Corporate Knights. Among the 100 are companies with historically less-than-perfect, but vastly improved sustainable track records like BP, Coca Cola and Nike, as well as companies like Toyota who have recently made a big splash in corporate social responsibility. The purpose of the Global 100 is to showcase that not all corporations are the same; to reinforce, raise awareness, and highlight the 100 most sustainable corporations in the world; the global firms most open to being part of the solution, layed out on one clear page. The Global 100 companies are therefore sustainable in the sense that they have displayed a better ability than most of their industry peers to identify and effectively manage material environmental, social and governance factors impacting the up (opportunity) and down (risk) sides of their business.The Innovest methodology compares companies to their sector peers on a best-in-class basis, rather than appraise them on absolute performance. For the Global 100, Innovest selected 100 leaders from the MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital International) World Index that demonstrate exceptional capacity to address their sector-specific environmental, social and governance risks and opportunities. Innovest does not believe that it is particularly insightful, or even methodologically possible, to give companies absolute ratings, as different industries face vastly different sets of social and environmental dynamics.
We're glad to see these awards; even if to simply reinforce that no one is perfect and that there are a few companies (these 100 represent about the top five per cent in each of the industry groups making up the MSCI World Index) that have set the bar higher than their peers and will (we hope) continue to do good things to make the world a better place. It sure would be nice if some (or one) of these mega-companies could be perfectly pollution-free, carbon-neutral, and followed fair-labor and fair-trade business practices, and perhaps that day is coming. The fact is that they aren't perfect, and that corporations have a tremendous influence on the way the world works on both a day-to-day and long-term level. As such, we'll take these rankings with a grain of salt, applaud those who, on the basis of these rankings, deserve recognition, and hope to get more bees with honey next year. ::Global 100 via ::Two Steps Forward