Gap widens between green pioneers and the rest
The performance of the most sustainable companies on the planet has improved, according to an extensive corporate assessment.
The Tomorrow's Value Rating (TVR) 2013, compiled by Two Tomorrows, has ranked Unilever top of the pile, with a score of 83%. Nestle and Vodafone also feature in the top 10.
This year's TVR also shows how the gap between the green leaders and the rest of the pack is widening. The average score for the top 10 companies assessed in 2012 was 74%, compared to an overall average of 57%. This year, the top 10 achieved an average of 83% compared to the overall score of 63%.
TVR director Jon Woodhead said: "Leaders in the TVR are characterised by the clarity of their vision when using market forces and societal trends to build a more sustainable business model.
"Unilever's growth is directly related to the way it has responded to the challenges of global megatrends such as increasing resource scarcity, rising commodity costs and health and hygiene issues."
Woodhead said those at the top of the rankings demonstrate "clarity of vision and innovation" in their pursuit of a sustainable business model.
However, there was notable "rapid progress" elsewhere, with Deutsche Telekom having improved by 40 percentage points since 2010. Its surge up the rankings is the result of more meaningful long-term targets (to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2020 compared to 2008) and deeper collaboration and engagement. For example, the company has partnered with peers and NGO's to develop a carbon calculation methodology for ICT products and services.
There were also some "surprise packages", said Woodhead. In the ICT sector, China Mobile scored 100% for governance, in part for its unique CEO Mailbox, a channel for stakeholder feedback that is responded to by senior leaders.
Meanwhile, Norway-based Telenor, also in ICT, scores joint highest for strategy thanks to its "strong understanding of how sustainability risks impact its value chain".
"Leadership is an attribute claimed by many, but the ability to demonstrate a strategically integrated approach to sustainability is rare," Woodhead writes in the report. "The companies that score highest in the TVR 2013 are those we believe are best equipped to deliver value through sustainable business performance."
Now in its tenth year, the TVR assesses the sustainability performance of leading businesses worldwide. It uses a "probing methodology" to assess 50 companies in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI). The TVR assess whether the companies considered by the DJSI to be sustainability leaders likely to drive sustainable value in the future.