Global 100: World’s most sustainable corporations revealed

Household products firm Reckitt Benckiser leads the 11 UK companies that have been named amongst the 100 most sustainable corporations in the world today (22 January).

The 11th annual Global 100 Index was announced by media and investment company Corporate Knights in Davos at the World Economic Forum, ranking the top overall sustainability performers in their respective industrial sectors.

Reckitt Benckiser – now known as RB – shot up the list to place seventh having achieved zero manufacturing waste to landfill across its European and North American factories as part of its ‘betterbusiness’ sustainability scheme.

UK companies have improved their overall performance on last year, with the number featured on the list increasing from eight in 2014 to 11 this year. Two UK companies featured in the top 10, with notable movements from utility company Centrica rising from 26th to eighth place and Unilever – famed for its sustainability efforts – rising from 93rd to 22nd this year.

Marks and Spencer features on the list at 16 due to its comprehensive Plan A sustainability programme which includes ambitious targets of using 100% renewable energy and sending zero waste to landfill.


The Global 100 companies were determined from a starting universe of 4609 listed firms which have a market capitalisation of greater than $2bn. The companies were put through four screens and then the remaining 100 were ranked on a maximum of 12 quantitative sustainability indicators including energy, water, waste and carbon productivity and social indicators such as ratio of chief executive to average worker pay.

“The Global 100 represent the corporate trailblazers who are forging new ways to make more with less, while raising the bar on good governance and social responsibility,” said Toby Heaps, chief executive of Corporate Knights.

The USA dominates the list with 20 companies appearing, including the top-ranked biotechnology company Biogen which has moved up from second place last year.

One of the most encouraging findings from the list is the rapid uptake among firms to pay their executives to deliver on sustainability targets. In 2015, 85% of the Global 100 firms provided a monetary bonus to executives who achieved sustainability targets, such as Philips Electronics and Schneider Electric which link their executives’ bonuses to achieving carbon emissions reductions.

Lucinda Dann

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