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2014 Tomorrow's Value Rating Calls for Paradigm Shift in How We Do Business

​The Tomorrow’s ValueTM Rating (TVR), published by DNV GL, assesses the sustainability performance of the world’s largest companies, evaluating how well companies understand their risks and opportunities, and how prepared they are to create future business value.

For the second year running, Unilever tops the rating, with Intel, Nestlé and Swiss building materials producer Holcim in a three-way tie for second place.

This year’s report finds clear sustainability leaders demonstrating greater ambition than their peers, understanding and responding to key material issues, and setting meaningful, long-term SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) targets. Yet while the TVR is encouraged by some great examples of approach and performance, it finds there are still significant gaps that businesses should move to address.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that, as a global society and economy, we are reaching the limits to traditional growth,” said Jon Woodhead, Business Development Manager at DNV GL – Business Assurance. “Unfortunately, only a handful of even the top-performing companies in the TVR seem to be preparing properly for a paradigm shift in how we do business.”

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Throughout its 11-year history, the TVR has always sought to challenge the companies rated to illustrate which ones really are leading the charge towards truly sustainable business. It analyzes strategy, examines whether there are sufficient supporting structures in place, and delves into how the companies are performing on critical issues. Most importantly, the TVR looks at what still needs to be done to realize a safe and sustainable future for all.

The TVR finds that the majority of the 45 companies studied have now embedded an approach to sustainability into their business strategy, although few are actively using that strategy to grow their business. The assessment reveals strong examples of leadership, but also many gaps and weaknesses in the approach of very large multinational companies.

In retaining its number one position, the TVR says Unilever offers a significantly more comprehensive, compelling and ambitious vision of the future for itself, its sector and the global economy as a whole. Meanwhile, building materials and aggregates company Holcim distinguishes itself by clearly stating its commitments to tackling some of the prevailing social and environmental challenges.

“Decoupling economic growth from impacts such as carbon emissions, resource extraction and biodiversity loss is the only way forward,” Woodhead says. “As yet only a select handful of the leaders in our TVR 2014, such as Holcim, Unilever and Intel, are starting to make these commitments, all of the companies have quite some way to go.”

The top five companies and their ratings are:

  • Unilever (96 percent)
  • Holcim (87 percent)
  • Intel (87 percent)
  • Nestlé (87 percent)
  • Diageo (84 percent)

Key findings:

  • Only half of the companies analyzed have meaningful SMART targets against material issues.
  • Sector leaders such as Unilever, Microsoft and Nestlé are utilizing sustainability innovations to drive future growth and competitive advantage.
  • Too many companies are still failing to integrate sustainability risks and opportunities into their risk-management approaches.
  • The companies rated in TVR 2014 are all seen as sustainability leaders, yet the average score was still under 70 percent. This shows that even the leaders have some way to go.

In other Unilever news, the CPG giant was busy during last week’s Climate Summit, announcing two new partnerships aimed at improving health and hygiene around the world: The first is a joint initiative with the UK government to use new social business models to improve health, hygiene and livelihoods for 100 million people by 2025, with each committing to contribute more than $8 million to a research and innovation program focused on affordable sanitation and safe drinking water; along with a commitment to help 25 million people gain improved access to toilets by 2020, by scaling up existing partnership programs with its toilet-cleaning brand, Domestos, and the Unilever Foundation.