Danish pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk was named the most sustainable corporation in the world by Corporate Knights, the Toronto-based media company focused on “clean capitalism.”
Corporate Knights’ 2012 Global 100 list includes companies from 22 countries encompassing all sectors of the economy, with collective annual sales in excess of $3.02 trillion, and 5,285,645 million employees.
The top ten companies on the list are:
- Novo Nordisk - Denmark
- Natura Cosmeticos - Brazil
- Statoil – Norway
- Novozymes – Denmark
- SML Holding – Netherlands
- BG Group – United Kingdom
- Vivendi – France
- Umicore – Belgium
- Norsk Hydro – Norway
- Atlas Copco – Sweden
U.S. companies appearing on the list include Intel (#18), Agilent Technologies (#59), Johnson Controls (#64), Proctor & Gamble (#66), IBM (#69), Baxter International (#86), and Prologis (#90).
Novo Nordisk, which had revenues of DKK 60.7 billion (US$10.5 billion) in 2010, is on record that access to essential medicines is a human right, and sells human insulin (the most basic kind) to 33 of the world’s poorest countries, at no more than 20 percent of the average price in the western world.
On the key clean capitalism metrics measured by Corporate Knights, Novo Nordisk scored top quartile performance in energy productivity ($4,851 in revenue generated per unit of energy consumption, compared to a pharmaceutical sector average of $3,603), carbon productivity ($68,585 in revenue generated per unit of carbon emitted, compared to a pharmaceutical sector average of $56,414) and pay equity (CEO/average employee remuneration ratio of 15 vs. a pharmaceutical sector average of 93). Novo Nordisk is the only pharmaceutical company within the Global 100 to report linking CEO remuneration to corporate performance on clean capitalism KPIs.
The Corporate Knights 2012 Global 100 includes one new indicator: “Employee Turnover,” which provides insight into a company’s human capital management, and is now disclosed by a critical threshold of companies.
Toby Heaps, CEO of Corporate Knights, says, “in a year in which Wall Street was occupied and capitalism became a bad word, the Global 100 companies serve as ambassadors for a better, cleaner kind of capitalism which, it also turns out, is more profitable.” From its inception on February 1 2005 to December 31, 2011, the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations has achieved a total return of 41.70%, outperforming its benchmark, (the MSCI All Country World Index at 29.30%) by more than 11%.
The Global 100 list was one of 21 rankings evaluated last year for transparency and objectivity by a meta-study of corporate sustainability rankings (Rate the Raters) produced by consulting agency SustainAbility.
Bart King is a PR consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications.