Top 10 Sustainable Companies

William Smith
- Leadership - Sep 16, 2019

Business Chief counts down the top 10 sustainable companies, according to Corporate Knights‘ ranking of companies which generate more than $1bn in annual revenue


10. Novartis AG - 75.19%

With 2018 revenues of $51.9bn and more than 125,000 employees, Novartis is by both measures one of the largest on this list. 18th on the global list with a score of 75.19%, the company has emphasised its focus on environmental sustainability, expanding access to healthcare and disclosing its sustainability practices through reporting.


9. ERG S.p.A - 75.39%

Edoardo Raffinerie Garrone or ERG is an Italian energy company. With a 2017 revenue of $1.19bn, the company is one of the smaller on the list with 714 employees. Its score of 75.39% puts it at 16th worldwide on Corporate Knights’ list. Its commitments towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are focused around the development of renewable sources of energy such as solar, environmental responsibilities and supplier screening.


8. Outotec Oyj - 76.53%

Industrial technology manufacturer Outotec serves customers in the mining, metal, energy and chemical industries. Based in Espoo, Finland, the company said its 2017 revenue was some $1.28bn, while in the same year it employed 4,146 people. 12th on the ranking with 76.53%, Outotec said it had expanded beyond its traditional competencies in minerals and metals to develop renewable energy, water management and recycling applications.


7. Pearson PLC - 76.91%

British education and publishing company Pearson is the world’s largest education company, with a 2018 revenue of $5.2bn. The company’s 2020 Sustainability Plan sees it contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and focus on improving accessibility, emparting sustainable skills and respecting the communities and environments in which it operates. It achieved a score of 76.91%, putting it 11th worldwide on Corporate Knights’ list.


6. Umicore - 79.05%

Belgian materials company Umicore scored 79.05% on the metric. Having originated as a mining company, Umicore now focuses on clean technologies. It employs 10,400 people and has a revenue of $3.7bn excluding metal. Umicore says its sustainability goals are based on ambitions to develop, produce and recycle materials in line with its slogan: “materials for a better life”. It placed 7th worldwide on the ranking.


5. GlaxoSmithKline plc - 79.41%

London based pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline comes in fifth, with a score of 79.41%. It is known for both its drugs as well as its consumer products such as Horlicks and Nicorette. It reported its 2018 revenue as $39.83bn, and said it employed 98,462 people in 2017. In September 2018, the company announced a set of commitments around corporate social responsibility, aligning itself with the UN Sustainable Development Goal of promoting Good Health & Wellbeing.


4. Ørsted - 80.13%

Ørsted is Denmark’s largest energy company. With a total score of 80.13%, its revenue in 2018 was $11.55bn and it employed 6,080 people. Its CEO, Henrik Poulsen, has said "to slow down climate change, we must transform society with CO2 neutral solutions." Accordingly, it has made a commitment to fully phase out coal by 2023, and has a focus on green energy such as offshore wind to replace it as an energy source. The company’s resolve was further demonstrated by its 2016 name change which saw it divest itself of former name DONG Energy (Danish Oil and Natural Gas).


3. Neste Corporation - 80.92%

Neste is a Finnish oil refining company. While the presence of an oil refining company on a sustainability list may at first seem a surprise, Neste says that it wants to challenge the oil refining industry by offering clean fuel solutions and applications with renewable materials. This effort is reflected in its score of 80.92%. Its 2018 revenue was $16.73bn, and it employed an average of 5,468 people.


2. Kering SA - 81.55%

The Paris based luxury goods company Kering is second on our list with a score of 81.55%. Owner of brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, the company reported its 2018 revenue as $15.3bn, and said that it employed on average 30,595 people. One factor propelling it up the list was the high percentage of women on its board – 64%, the highest of all companies examined by Corporate Knights.


1. Chr. Hansen Holding A/S - 82.99%

With an overall score of 82.99%, the title of most sustainable company in both Europe and the world goes to Danish bioscience company Chr. Hansen. The result is even more impressive considering the company’s founding in 1874, making it almost 150 years old. Its focus is the production of cultures, enzymes and natural colourings for the food industry. In 2017/18 the company employed 3150 people on average with a revenue of $1.2bn. It describes its purpose as delivering solutions in food, health and productivity to address global challenges.

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