Newsweek, together with research partner Corporate Knights Capital, today released the 2014 Newsweek Green Rankings.
The Newsweek Green Rankings evaluate the world's largest publicly traded companies using eight metrics that collectively provide a transparent measurement of overall corporate environmental performance.
Companies were scored on each metric against their industry peers using a 0-100% scale. Using an industry-relative scale provides a chance for companies in every industry to score high or low depending on the choices they have made. Of the top 25 companies in the 2014 US Green Rankings, 90% of the sectors have representation, including materials, utilities, industrials and energy.
To assess companies on corporate reputation and environmental risks and litigation, Corporate Knights Capital partnered with RepRisk, the leading business intelligence provider on environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks.
The Newsweek Green Rankings consist of the U.S. 500, which ranks the 500 largest publicly traded companies in the United States by market cap and the Global 500, which looks at the 500 largest publicly traded companies globally by market cap.
The top-ranked company on the U.S. 500 was Allergan, the California-based pharma company best known as the world's largest producer of Botox. Widely recognized as a corporate environmental leader, Allergan began formulating an environmental strategy more than 20 years ago, with recent efforts focused on innovative waste management initiatives and energy efficiency projects.
Vivendi, the French media and telecommunications giant, was the top ranked company on the Global 500. Vivendi's strong showing in the ranking was influenced by the company's comprehensive renewable energy strategy and efforts to tie the remuneration of its senior executives to corporate environmental performance targets.
"The Newsweek Green Rankings show which companies stand out from their industry peers on an increasingly important suite of performance metrics," said Toby Heaps, CEO of Corporate Knights Capital. "The ranking offers unique insights about how the world's largest companies are positioned around a wide variety of material themes, including climate change, rising energy costs and water scarcity." "What we're seeing more and more is a direct link between corporate sustainability, reputation, and financial success," said Elijah Wolfson, senior editor at Newsweek. "Many of the world's largest public companies have begun to recognize that in order to be successful moving forward, they need to openly account for their environmental impact. The goal of Newsweek's Green Rankings is to add to and push for this type of accountability." In addition to uncovering sharp differences in environmental performance both within and among industries, the project found that a majority of the world's largest companies are now disclosing environmental data to the market.
Notably, over 75% of the Global 500 and 60% of the U.S. 500 now disclose data on their carbon emissions to investors. This compares to almost no disclosure a decade ago.
"The upward tick in environmental disclosure identified in this project is a well-documented macro trend," said Heaps. "We believe this reflects growing pressure for expanded corporate reporting from investor groups and the growing number of jurisdictions that require environmental disclosure."
The 2014 Newsweek Green Rankings - Top 10 from the U.S. 500
1 Allergan United States Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology
2 Adobe Systems United States Software & Services
3 Ball Corporation United States Materials
4 Ecolab United States Materials
5 Sigma-Aldrich United States Materials
6 McCormick United States Food Beverage & Tobacco
7 Biogen Idec United States Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology
8 Rockwell Automation United States Capital Goods
9 Cardinal Health United States Health Care Equipment & Services
10 Agilent Technologies United States Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology