Pharmaceutical companies Biogen, SHIRE and Allergan led the Global 500 in the 2015 Newsweek Green Rankings, a popular assessment of corporate environmental performance.
Reckitt Benckiser Group, Adobe Systems, Swisscom, Unilever, Broadcom Corporation, Roche Holding (another pharmaceutical firm) and BT Group rounded out the top 10.
The rankings are done in partnership with Corporate Knights Capital, HIP (Human Impact + Profit) Investor, and leading sustainability minds from nongovernmental organizations and the academic and accounting communities.
The dominance of the healthcare industry in this year’s top 10 compared to previous years perhaps is reflective of the reformed methodology Newsweek developed when it partnered with Corporate Knights Capital and HIP (Human Impact + Profit) Investor last year to recreate the research after a one-year break from publication.
Eight weighted indicators are used to create the overall scores, including productivity metrics related to energy productivity, greenhouse gases, water and waste; how closely executive compensation is tied to environmental performance; and if the company’s board is mandated to act on social responsibility or sustainability issues.
The “green revenue” score is the most heavily weighted criteria, which is derived from products and services that "contribute positively” to society or sustainable resource management. Information technology companies such as Adobe and Autodesk benefited the most from this metric.
The percentage of ranked companies using green compensation incentives rose significantly between last year and this year, according to the ranking, with 53 percent of the U.S. organizations now using this as a component of salaries, compared with 29 percent in 2014.
The connection between a healthy environment and public health outcomes has become increasingly evident. Earlier this year, President Obama issued his proclamation of Public Health Week to highlight the relationship between a changing climate and public health. He called out doctors, nurses and public health officials as key drivers in accelerating this understanding and mitigating future impact.