29 UK businesses highlighted on Dow Jones Sustainability Indices

The global 2018 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices has named 29 UK businesses as sustainability leaders, adding alcoholic beverage giant Diageo and removing Samsung Electronics from its rankings.

The S&P Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) are considered the gold standard for corporative environmental, social and governance (ESG). The 2018 index, released on Thursday (13 September), names the likes of Unilever, Peugeot and Royal Mail as industry leaders in their respective sectors, while 29 British companies make the global list. 

Royal Mail continues to head up the transportation category and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) leads the consumer services category for a second consecutive year, while Standard Life Aberdeen and Provident Financial are listed as financial sector leaders.

Elsewhere, luxury fashion brand Burberry has been listed in the apparel section of the global index after pledging to stop destroying products deemed unsaleable as part of a resource efficiency drive.

Notable additions to this year’s rankings include beverage giant Diageo, cloud computing firm Salesforce.com and oilfield service provider Schlumberger. However, tech giant Samsung, German pharmaceuticals manufacturer Bayer AG and Commonwealth Bank Australia have all been removed from the indices. The move comes after Commonwealth Bank Australia was ordered in January to pay a $700m fine for breaching Australian money laundering and terror financing laws.

Overall, DJSI assessed the efforts of 5% more companies this year than it did in 2017.

Spotlight on leadership

Launched in 1999, the DJSI was the first global index to track leading sustainability-driven companies. The index assesses corporates using its annual Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) method, which uses a consistent, rules-based methodology to convert an average of 600 data points per company into one overall score. 

This year Peugeot, LG, Siemens and Hyundai all claimed industry leader rankings. In total, 3,570 companies were evaluated for inclusion this year, with just 51 US-based companies making the global list.

Unilever once again ranked first in the Personal Products sector, the 19th time it has topped that particular category. The company scored 100 out of 100 on innovation management, brand management, product stewardship and operational eco-efficiency.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola lost its 2017 leadership spot in the beverage category to Thai Beverage, while Thai Union, the world’s largest tuna producer, topped the food products category.

The company has notably pledged to source all its branded tuna from fisheries that are either Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified or engaged in Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), which see all the stakeholders in a fishery acting to make the fishery more sustainable. It has poured more than £67m ($90m) into initiatives that will increase the supply of sustainable tuna since partnering with WWF in 2014.

Commenting on the results, Thai Union’s chief executive Thiraphong Chansiri said the company had “fully embraced” its role as a sustainability leader for and “positioned sustainability at the heart of its business”.

“Thai Union and all of its brands around the world are committed to operating in an environmentally and socially responsible manner—our future depends on it,” he said.

Elsewhere, Swedish health product firm Essity, which owns Bodyform, Tena and Lotus, was named as the top company in the household products category. The company has pledged to align its sustainability actions with at least six of the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and set a target of sending none of its production waste to landfill in 2016.

“Sustainability is part of Essity’s business model – we want to promote a more sustainable and circular society, and that requires everyone to think in new innovative ways,” Essity’s chief executive Magnus Groth said. “Being named an industry leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index affirms that our sustainability and innovation efforts have been successful.”


Sarah George

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