3,400 of the world’s largest companies in both developed and emerging markets were invited to take part in RobecoSAM’s Corporate Sustainability Assessment, analyzing the most financially material environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. This year, RobecoSAM assessed 85% of the invited universe’s free float market capitalization. Only the 10% best scoring companies in terms of sustainability in each industry were included in the DJSI World Index.
Remarkable companies that were added to the selection of the World Index members include Telefónica, GDF Suez and Deutsche Telekom. Meanwhile, Diageo was deleted from the listing after 15 years.
Some notable developments were observed by RobecoSAM in this year’s review. It found that companies earn the highest scores in compliance-driven criteria such as codes of conduct and corporate governance, but lag behind when it comes to operational eco-efficiency and human capital development. Furthermore, the highest improvements relative to 2014 were noted by RobecoSAM on the social and environmental reporting criteria, a sign of the maturing level of materiality-driven reporting among listed companies. RobecoSAM also highlighted significant progress made by the industry group leaders:
Pharmaceuticals: Roche Holding
Roche has leveraged its global presence to contribute to alleviating health and social problems through partnerships with local organizations. Initiatives include early detection and treatment programs in Africa, South America, and Asia, and working with the Transnet foundation in South Africa to deliver local healthcare solutions to remote communities.
Unilever is the group leader in the food industry, with 33% of the company’s food and refreshment products meeting the highest nutritional standards for their respective product categories. These standards are based on globally recognized dietary guidelines which have contributed to improved diets for 55 million people.
Materials: Akzo Nobel
Akzo Nobel is the group leader of the chemicals industry. This industry is currently facing challenges that include: operational eco-efficiency, climate change, human capital development, and occupational health & safety. In 2013, Akzo adapted its sustainability strategy and has continued to improve its operations sustained input from from both internal and, as well as external stakeholders. This new framework, derived from its revised sustainability strategy, reflects the advantages Akzo has achieved from integrating sustainability across the supply chain.
Additionally, revenues from its eco-premium labeled products have seen year-on-year increases, from 22% in 2012 up to 24% in 2014, nearing its target of 30% by 2015. Akzo Nobel also continues to benefit from its Performance Improvement Programs which target sustainability issues across the board. From improving operational eco-efficiency to ensuring that its business is able to attract, develop, and retain talented employees, Akzo Nobel is able tackle the challenges currently facing the chemical industry. Noteworthy is that Akzo Nobel has a total score of 92(!) points.
Media: Telenet Group Holding NV
Telenet continues to demonstrate leadership in developing effective solutions to the environmental, demographic, and legislative challenges currently facing the media industry. Its LEAP (“Linking Environment and Profit”) program ensures that its sustainability and business strategy are linked by focusing on delivering a superior customer experience and maintaining operational excellence.
Its cooperation with start-up community Idealabs benefits both the community at large and Telenet by creating an environment of constant innovation and improvement for the company itself and the participating digital start-ups.
Telecom: KT Corp
The company has leveraged its innovation-based business model to develop a Total Operation Center. This industrial technology solution relies on the Korean Micro Energy Grid to offer commercial sites complete energy management and efficient resource use through remote centralized services such as energy market connection and electricity/heat/gas grid systems. Noteworthy is that KT Corp is the best in class along all three dimensions: economic, environmental, and social.
Energy: Thai Oil Company
Thai Oil recognizes that its employees are key to its success, and therefore this year it has enhanced its employee development through capacity building, leadership and training, and has expanded its knowledge management system.
Since 2004 Finch & Beak has been working with RobecoSAM and clients from a variety of sectors to improve the results. Are you looking for ways to use benchmarking for spurring your sustainability performance and could you use guidance for the assessments? Please contact Nikkie Vinke, consultant and DJSI expert, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +31 6 28 02 18 80.
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