Unilever, KT and Nestlé lead the Tomorrow’s Value Rating 2013 (TVR), which recognizes companies that increasingly demonstrate “clarity of vision and innovation in their pursuit of a sustainable business model.”
Sprint, Vodafone, Iberdrola, E.ON, BMW, Ford and Deutsche Telekom rounded out the top 10. Two Tomorrows, the sustainability strategy consultancy that created the rating, says the average for the top 10 this year is 83 percent compared to 55 percent in 2010. While the average score across the companies rated has varied only slightly over recent years, in that time the highest scores have gotten higher. There also is a growing gap between sustainability leaders and laggards, the report says.
Now in its tenth year, the TVR assesses the sustainability performance of leading businesses worldwide, using a probing methodology to assess 50 companies in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI). The Rating asks the question: Are the companies considered by the DJSI to be sustainability leaders likely to drive sustainable value in the future?
“Leaders in the TVR are characterized by the clarity of their vision when using market forces and societal trends to build a more sustainable business model,” said Jon Woodhead, TVR Director.
Unilever’s top score reflects the extent to which sustainability is embedded in its business strategy, the report says. Its business growth is directly related to the way it has responded to global megatrends such as increasing resource scarcity, rising commodity costs and health and hygiene issues.
Unilever's Lifebuoy brand recently announced a significant expansion of its Help a Child Reach 5 campaign, which aims to end preventable deaths of children under five by changing hand-washing behaviors in India.
“Leadership is an attribute claimed by many, but the ability to demonstrate an integrated and embedded approach to sustainability is much rarer,” Woodhead added.
The report reveals that TVR leaders drive innovation through partnerships and collaborations and a structured innovation process based on clear sustainability criteria. This enables them to develop new, more sustainable product revenue streams. They also incorporate stakeholder views in decision making and adapt their enterprise risk management systems to include long-term risks.
The TVR also identifies several companies relatively new to sustainability leadership. China Mobile stands out by effectively elevating stakeholder concerns to the CEO. Norway-based Telenor demonstrates a strong understanding of how sustainability risks impact its value chain.
Two Tomorrows warns that even those identified as today’s leaders will have to continuously invent new ways to address global sustainability challenges if they hope to stay at the forefront. With inevitable population growth and impending climate change, future companies will need to demonstrate how their operations, products and services and value chain make a net positive contribution to betterment of the world.