Who is the most sustainable?

Who is the most sustainable?

Results for 2012 Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes Review was announced earlier last year. The goal of this article is to highlight the companies and countries that were leaders in terms of sustainability performance in 2011.

The world’s 2500 largest companies from 58 different sectors were analysed in terms of their opportunities and risks derived from economic, environmental and social developments. Only 15% of them were included in The Sustainability Yearbook.

Companies that have the highest score in the Review represent following countries: the USA (38 leading positions), the UK (25), South Korea (22), Germany (19), France (16), Japan (13), Spain (13) and Australia (12). 

American companies are the leaders in industries such as aluminium production, the beverage industry, and biotechnology. Germany was strong in the automobile industry, which is quite logical considering the country’s overall leadership in that particular sector. France is leading in the airline industry and communication technology; Italy – in the production of auto parts, tires and industrial engineering; South Korea – in the sector of electronic equipment and the fixed-line telecommunications industry. The UK’s leading companies were from the food and drug retail, tobacco, travel and tourism sectors. Two Spanish companies took the gold and the silver places for sustainability in the gas distribution industry and another Spanish company ranked first as a sustainability leader in oil and gas producers. Japanese companies are the leaders among companies operating in home construction and insurance sectors.

Australian companies are among the sustainability leaders in the banking sector (Westpac Banking Corp., Australia&New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. and National Australia Bank Ltd.), gambling sector (TABCorp Holdings Ltd.), electricity (AGL Energy Ltd.), mining (Rio Tinto Group), oil and gas production (Woodside Petroleum Ltd.), and real estate sector (Stockland and GPT Group).

There is no correlation between the ranking of a given country and its GDP per capita. However, all the leading companies in terms of their sustainable development are from the most developed countries in the world – the ones with the highest GDP per capita. There are some interesting exceptions to this rule where Indian, Thai, Brazilian and Colombian companies rank among the leaders too.

Although we can figure out where the leading companies come from, it doesn’t clearly portray the overall picture of sustainable development in those countries across the board. The only clear observation is that industry leaders tend to lead in sustainable practices as well.

The next Sustainability Yearbook is to be published sometime this month. Therefore in the next article we will compare the new results with current findings and will make new conclusions out of this comparison.


The Sustainability Yearbook 2012