Demonstrating a lead in corporate sustainability has become increasingly important to both businesses and their customers in recent years, as has receiving plaudits for their efforts. This week, the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) released their 15th annual choices for the world’s leading companies, what many consider an important acknowledgment of their progress in this area.
After being founded in 1999, the DJSI have grown to become one of the most respected benchmarks of corporate sustainability around the world. Each year, the lists are compiled in collaboration with RobecoSAM, who combine their expertise to assess the sustainability programs of the world’s leading companies, with over 3,000 major companies (including 800 from emerging markets) invited to be assessed on their efforts. Since its initiation 15 years ago, the number of companies assessed has grown fourfold.
“We are proud to celebrate 15 years of providing investors with sophisticated benchmarks for corporate sustainability,” commented Guido Giese, Head of Indices at RobecoSAM. “Since 1999, we have helped investors realize the financial materiality of sustainability and companies continue to tell us that the DJSI provides an excellent tool to measure the effectiveness of their sustainability strategies. In 15 years, the total number of companies we assess has more than quadrupled. We have also developed new sustainability benchmarks for investors such as country and regional indices.”
DJSI take a hard line on the companies they assess; only those leading the way in their respective industries are included in the indices. The world’s sustainability leaders get judged based on a range of stringent, long-term economic, environmental and social criteria. The purpose behind the scheme is to provide global investors and stakeholders with objective information on the sustainability efforts of the world’s leading industry players. A range of companies have also highlighted that the indices allow them to evaluate their own contributions to corporate sustainability commitments.
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Here are the DJSI's leaders across 24 industry groups:
16 of those that made this year’s Index have the distinction of being included in the indices every year since their inception:
In this year’s DJSI World listings, there have been three big additions to the indices: Amgen, Inc; GlaxoSmithKline PLC; and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Major players who have been cut from the world listings are Bank of America, General Electric, McDonald’s, Starbucks and Nike (although they did still make the North American list).
Another new addition — health, hygiene and home consumer goods company RB (formerly Reckitt Benckiser) — was named leader of the Household Products industry after just one year on the European Index and earned ‘industry best’ scores for the economic and environmental divisions.
RB CEO Rakesh Kapoor said: “Our betterbusiness strategy has ambitious sustainability goals for 2020 and we’re proud that our performance so far has been recognized in the latest Dow Jones Sustainability Index. This is an important achievement for RB, our partners, customers, shareholders and employees.”
Another company that scored highly in the indices was Novozymes, which was awarded 86 points out of 100 in its new sector: the Chemical Industry. The company came within the top three percentile of the companies in the sector in both the Climate Strategy and Environmental Policy categories.
“We are very proud of our achievement, and see this as a result of Novozymes truly prioritizing the integration of sustainability into our business,” said Mads Bodenhoff, VP of Novozymes' Corporate Finance. “The DJSI offers us valuable insight into how we can improve our performance. Our new Industry category also offers us a fantastic opportunity to really challenge ourselves and continuously develop our edge.”