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Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations Eyed as Exceptional Investments

Corporate Knights, the Toronto-based media and investment research company, announced its Global 100 list of the world’s most sustainable corporations on January 23 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The Global 100 consists of the 100 top-performing stocks worldwide on a range of sector-specific sustainability metrics. In aggregate, the Global 100 had revenues of US$3 trillion (roughly 4.5 per cent of global GDP) and a workforce of nearly 5.3 million in 2011. The top-ranked company in this year’s Global 100 was Umicore, the Belgium-based materials technology and recycling company. The top 5 were rounded out by Natura Cosmeticos, Statoil, Neste Oil and Novo Nordisk.

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Umicore derives the majority of its revenue (2011: US$20 billion) from clean technologies such as catalysts that reduce pollution from vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. It achieved the top overall ranking in the 2013 Global 100 due to its strong, across-the-board sustainability performance. The company notched top-quartile performance on six of the 12 indicators used in the project, including carbon and water productivity, and employee turnover.

Commenting on this year’s Global 100, Toby Heaps, Corporate Knights CEO, remarked, “The Global 100 are leading a resource productivity revolution, transforming waste into treasure and doing more with less. They are steering our civilization away from ecological overshoot and back to a place of balance with our planet.” He added, “On carbon, water, energy, and waste, the Global 100 are on track to double their resource productivity by 2025 in two-thirds of the cases, and in an era of peak commodity prices, this makes as many dollars as it does sense.”

Canada and the United States led the way in country representation, each with 10 constituents, followed by Australia, Britain and France, each with nine constituents. Overall, the Global 100 drew companies from 22 countries on six continents.

Corporate Knights uses its flagship Global 100 ranking and the underlying research methodology to explore sustainable investment strategies with investors. Doug Morrow, the VP Research at Corporate Knights, says, “The Global 100 is one of the few equity indexes that we are aware of that has outperformed the MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) – the Global 100’s benchmark – by over 900 bps over the last eight years. It turns out that our methodology for stock selection in the Global 100 is a strong proxy for corporate operational efficiency, which has been an increasingly important driver of stock returns in
recent years.”

Corporate Knights collected data for the project primarily from Bloomberg and through direct engagement with the 350 companies that made the project’s shortlist, selected from the project’s starting universe of all global mid- and large-cap stocks (numbering approximately 4,000).

The Global 100 uses a two-step methodology. First, companies from the starting universe are screened according to their sustainability disclosure practices, financial health, product types and recent legal payouts. Those companies that remain are then scored, relative to their same-sector peers, on a set of key performance indicators (KPIs). A different suite of KPIs is used for companies in each industry, depending on recent reporting trends in each industry group.
 
“We feel that the sustainability data that flows into our Global 100 research
model, once properly cleansed, can contain hidden and statistically robust signals about companies’ future financial performance,” Morrow adds. “It is a vastly underutilized source of competitive information on Wall Street and in the asset management community worldwide.”

For full rankings and other details visit Global100.org

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