Nine Canadian companies are on this year's list of the 100 most sustainable companies in the world.
The annual Global 100 list, which ranks big firms based on their environmental and corporate governance performance, is led by German car company Bayerische Motoren Werke AG. Second is French software firm Dassault Systèmes.
The top Canadian company is uranium producer Cameco Corp., which finished at No. 32. It was followed by Teck Resources Ltd. at No. 37, Enbridge Inc. at 46, Telus Corp. at 53 and five others.
The list, compiled by Toronto-based media and research company Corporate Knights, was released on Thursday at the World Financial Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It ranks major corporations on more than a dozen factors, including relative energy and water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, waste production, the strength of the company pension plan, chief executive officer-to-worker pay ratios, and board and management diversity.
The three top Canadian companies on the list – Cameco, Teck and Enbridge – work in the resource-extraction business, which does not usually get high marks for sustainability. But Corporate Knights CEO Toby Heaps said these firms are measured against their industry peers, and they get good marks for how they use their resources and treat employees and shareholders.
"[The rankings] are not asking if the products or services they make are good or controversial; it is just asking if they are conducting themselves, operationally, in a sound, efficient manner that abides the social contract," Mr. Heaps said. "This ranking is meant to just say – accepting the economy as it is – who is doing the best job out there against their peers."
The only companies that are excluded from consideration are weapons makers and tobacco firms – "any company whose main product has the primary effect of killing people," he said.
Cameco, Teck and Enbridge do particularly well in the rankings on their use of energy, level of greenhouse gas emissions and waste production.
One area where all the Canadian companies on the list excel is in linking top executive pay to corporate sustainability targets. Every one of the nine Canadian firms makes this link, and got points for it. For the entire list of 100 companies, 87 per cent of firms had this link – a proportion that has risen sharply in the past few years.
To compile the list, Corporate Knights started with 4,353 global companies with a market capitalization of more than $2-billion (U.S.), then cut this down to a short list of firms that had sufficient disclosure of the key metrics. The United States had the highest number of companies on the top 100 list, with 19. France was second with 11, and Canada and Britain tied with nine each.
By the numbers
The top 10
1. Bayerische Motoren Werke (Germany), automobiles
2. Dassault Systèmes (France), software
3. Outotec (Finland), machinery
4. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (Australia), banking
5. Adidas (Germany), apparel
6. Enagas (Spain), utilities
7. Danske Bank (Denmark), banking
8. StarHub (Singapore), telecom
9. Reckitt Benckiser Group (Britain), household products
10. City Developments (Singapore), real estate
32. Cameco, uranium producer
37. Teck Resources, mining
46. Enbridge, energy
53. Telus, telecommunications
54. Toronto-Dominion Bank, banking
63. WSP Global, engineering
66. Sun Life Financial, insurance
85. Celestica, electronics
86. Bank of Montreal, banking