Schneider Electric tops ranking of world's most sustainable corporates

25th January 2021

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French technology firm Schneider Electric has topped an annual ranking of the world's 100 most sustainable corporations with more than $1bn (£0.7bn) in revenue, climbing from 29th position last year.

The company – which provides digital energy and automation solutions – achieved first place in the ranking after shifting its focus to data centres, storage and other distributed energy resources, along with smart solutions that advance electrification, efficiency and renewability.

It now earns 70% of its revenue from, and directs 73% of its investments toward, sustainable solutions, and also performs strongly on racial and gender diversity, and resource productivity and safety.

Danish energy giant Ørsted, and Brazilian bank Banco do Brasil, occupy the top three positions in the 2021 Global 100 ranking, which involved an assessment of 8,080 companies by media and research firm Corporate Knights.

“We are honoured and grateful to be ranked number one by Corporate Knights,” said Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Schneider Electric CEO. “It is a major encouragement for our teams and partners, and a great recognition of more than 15 years of engagement to make our company and the world greener and more inclusive.”

This year’s ranking was based on several new performance indicators that reflect social concerns highlighted by COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement, including paid sick leave, executive and board racial diversity, and clean investments.

On average, one-third of investments on the part of Global 100 companies are clean, in contrast to less than one-quarter from their peers, while the percentage that offer at least 10 days of paid sick leave is more than double that of firms on the MSCI ACWI Index.

Global 100 companies earn 41% of their revenues from products or services aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals on average, compared to just 8% for their peers.

From its inception on February 1, 2005, to December 31, 2020, the Global 100 has generated a total investment return of 263%, compared to 220% for the MSCI ACWI.

The average age of a Global 100 company in 2021 is 74 years, while the average age of a company in the MSCI ACWI is 53 years.

The 20 American and 13 Canadian companies were the largest national contingents in the 2021 Global 100, although in regional terms, Europe dominated, occupying 41 positions in this year’s ranking.

Nordic countries continued to punch notably above their weight, while new entrants on the Global 100 from Turkey and India reflect a growing and potentially transformative Asian presence among the world’s most sustainable companies.

“This year’s analysis and results strongly suggest that the world’s leading companies learned a lesson from the aftermath of the 2008/09 financial crisis,” says Toby Heaps, CEO of Corporate Knights. “Rather than de-prioritising sustainability when confronted with a major shock, they’ve recognised that it will drive the success of recovery strategies.”

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