The two companies battling it out in a huge pharmaceutical takeover fight have dramatically different environmental records, according to a new study ranking the world's biggest public corporations on their green credentials.
Allergan Inc., the California company that is the target in the takeover bid, ranks second among 500 global corporations for environmental performance. But the predator in the fight – Canadian-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. – is far down the list, at the 411th position among the 500 firms.
The rankings were calculated by Canadian research and publishing firm Corporate Knights Inc., for Newsweek magazine's annual green rankings to be published Thursday.
Corporate Knights chief executive officer Toby Heaps said that the takeover of Allergan by Valeant, if it comes to fruition, amounts to "the brownest pharma company taking over the greenest pharma company."
The ranking scores companies on eight different criteria, designed to measure overall corporate environmental performance against industry peers. The measures include the use of energy, carbon, water and the generation of waste, relative to revenue. The ranking also looks at other criteria such as whether executive pay is linked to environmental goals, and whether a company has a sustainability committee on its board.
The global rankings looked at the largest publicly traded companies in the world, measured by market capitalization. The number one company, just ahead of Allergan, is French media and telecommunications company Vivendi SA. The highest ranked Canadian company is Rogers Communications Inc., at number 22.
The report noted that Allergan is widely recognized as a corporate environmental leader, and that it started creating a green strategy more than two decades ago. Currently it focuses its efforts on waste management and energy efficiency, and it reports its environmental performance in detail. Allergan has published a corporate social responsibility report for two decades, and discloses all its performance targets and initiatives.
By contrast, Valeant is an "opaque company compared to Allergan on sustainability disclosure," the Corporate Knights analysis of the two firms said. Valeant doesn't disclose any sustainability information, although some of its subsidiaries do – including the recently acquired Bausch & Lomb Inc.
Valeant is unusual among big public companies, Mr. Heaps said, because the vast majority of large corporations now report considerable detail about environmental issues. "They are missing in action," he said.
"We are at the point now where pretty much every global company is reporting on their main environmental metrics," such as carbon, energy, waste and water use, he said. "It is table stakes for major companies now." Consequently, "Valeant is a massive anomaly for a company of its size," he said. For one thing, it has never responded to surveys organized by the global Carbon Disclosure Project, which asks about carbon emissions and water use.
A large part of any company's value is intangible factors, Mr. Heaps said, and that includes its reputation. "And not a small part of reputation is environmental factors. It is a hugely important thing for retaining talent and attracting new talent. People want to work for a company they can be proud of."
Montreal-based Valeant, which has made dozens of acquisitions in the past few years, has teamed up with investor activist Bill Ackman to bid for Allergan, best known for its Botox product line. Valeant has raised its cash-and-share bid twice, and the offer is now worth about $54-billion. Mr. Ackman, who owns 9.7 per cent of Allergan's shares, has called a special meeting to try to replace a majority of the company's directors. Allergan's board has yet to make a recommendation to its shareholders about the Valeant deal.