The term “sustainable”–like “green” and “all-natural” before it–conveys an abstract sense of do- gooding that many companies have been happy to adopt. Corporate Knights, a Toronto-based media company, applies hard metrics to the otherwise fuzzy term, and Saturday it released its seventh-annual list of the world’s most sustainable companies.
“Transparency is a prerequisite,” says Toby Heaps, Corporate Knights’ editor-in-chief. “Also, how are companies squeezing more wealth from the resources that they use? How are they doing a better job of respecting the social contract, like paying taxes or having diverse leadership?”
Corporate Knights worked with a research firm to winnow down its list of publicly traded companies from 3,000 to 300, based on financial performance and other criteria. Then the Corporate Knights research group worked with two different asset management firms to evaluate those 300 companies based on 10 environmental, social and governance performance metrics, including energy productivity, waste productivity and CEO-to-average-worker pay ratio. An eleventh indicator was added for “transparency.”
Corporate Knights includes the top-performing companies in each of several sectors. It relies on the companies to give it accurate data. When a company doesn’t provide information for one of the 10 metrics, Corporate Knights assigns it a null score for that category, and penalizes the company with an unfavorable transparency score.
The Nordic countries (Norway, Denmark, Finland) placed especially well in the rankings having 7 out of the top 20 companies. The United Kingdom failed to place a company in the Top 20 of the list. Below is a list of the top 20 companies:
1 STATOIL ASA - Norway
2 JOHNSON & JOHNSON - United States
3 NOVOZYMES - Denmark
4 NOKIA OYJ - Finland
5 UMICORE - Belgium
6 INTEL CORP - United States
7 ASTRAZENECA PLC
8 CREDIT AGRICOLE SA - France
9 STOREBRAND ASA - Norway
10 DANSKE BANK A/S- Denmark
11 GENERAL ELECTRIC CO - United States
12 ENCANA CORP - Canada
13 VIVENDI - France
14 NITTO DENKO CORP - Japan
15 TNT NV - Netherlands
16 NOVO NORDISK - Denmark
17 DEXIA SA - Belgium
18 WESTPAC BANKING CORP - Australia
19 ORIGIN ENERGY LTD - Australia
20 NESTE OIL OYJ - Finland
In the Top 100 Companies list, Japan had the largest amounts of ranked companies (19) followed by the United States (13). To see the list of the Top 100 Sustainable countries in the world, click HERE.
You may be interested in the following books about sustainability
Thomas L. Friedman’s phenomenal number-one bestsellerThe World Is Flat has helped millions of readers to see the world in a new way. In his brilliant, essential new book, Friedman takes a fresh and provocative look at two of the biggest challenges we face today: America’s surprising loss of focus and national purpose since 9/11; and the global environmental crisis, which is affecting everything from food to fuel to forests. In this groundbreaking account of where we stand now, he shows us how the solutions to these two big problems are linked–how we can restore the world and revive America at the same time.
Friedman explains how global warming, rapidly growing populations, and the astonishing expansion of the world’s middle class through globalization have produced a planet that is “hot, flat, and crowded.” Already the earth is being affected in ways that threaten to make it dangerously unstable. In just a few years, it will be too late to fix things–unless the United States steps up now and takes the lead in a worldwide effort to replace our wasteful, inefficient energy practices with a strategy for clean energy, energy efficiency, and conservation that Friedman calls Code Green.
In vivid, entertaining chapters, Friedman makes it clear that the green revolution we need is like no revolution the world has seen. It will be the biggest innovation project in American history; it will be hard, not easy; and it will change everything from what you put into your car to what you see on your electric bill. But the payoff for America will be more than just cleaner air. It will inspire Americans to something we haven’t seen in a long time–nation-building in America–by summoning the intelligence, creativity, boldness, and concern for the common good that are our nation’s greatest natural resources.
“Two experts from Yale tackle the business wake-up-call du jour-environmental responsibility-from every angle in this thorough, earnest guidebook: pragmatically, passionately, financially and historically. Though “no company the authors know of is on a truly long-term sustainable course,” Esty and Winston label the forward-thinking, green-friendly (or at least green-acquainted) companies WaveMakers and set out to assess honestly their path toward environmental responsibility, and its impact on a company’s bottom line, customers, suppliers and reputation.
Following the evolution of business attitudes toward environmental concerns, Esty and Winston offer a series of fascinating plays by corporations such as Wal-Mart, GE and Chiquita (Banana), the bad guys who made good, and the good guys-watchdogs and industry associations, mostly-working behind the scenes. A vast number of topics huddle beneath the umbrella of threats to the earth, and many get a thorough analysis here: from global warming to electronic waste “take-back” legislation to subsidizing sustainable seafood. For the responsible business leader, this volume provides plenty of (organic) food for thought. “
An on-the-ground exploration of the impending world water crisis by a veteran environmental reporter
In this groundbreaking book, veteran science correspondent Fred Pearce travels to more than thirty countries to examine the current state of crucial water sources. Deftly weaving together the complicated scientific, economic, and historic dimensions of the world water crisis, he provides our most complete portrait yet of this growing danger and its ramifications for us all.
“A strong-and scary-case that a worldwide water shortage is the most fearful looming environmental crisis. With a drumbeat of facts both horrific (thousands of wells in India and Bangladesh are poisoned by fluoride and arsenic) and fascinating (it takes 20 tons of water to make one pound of coffee), the former New Scientist news editor documents a ‘kind of cataclysm’ already affecting many of the world’s great rivers.” – Publishers Weekly
“Oil we can replace. Water we can’t-which is why this book is both so ominous and so important.” – Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature
Sustainability has become a buzzword in the last decade, but its full meaning is complex, emerging from a range of different sectors. In practice, it has become the springboard for millions of individuals throughout the world who are forging the fastest and most profound social transformation of our time – the Sustainability Revolution.
The Sustainability Revolution paints a picture of this largely unrecognized phenomenon from the point of view of five major sectors of society:
- Community (government and international institutions)
- Commerce (business)
- Natural Resources (forestry, farming, fisheries, etc.)
- Ecological Design (architecture, technology)
- Biosphere (conservation, biodiversity, etc.).
The book analyses sustainability as defined by each of these sectors in terms of the principles, declarations and intentions that have emerged from conferences and publications, and which serve as guidelines for policy decisions and future activities. Common themes are then explored, including:
- an emphasis on stewardship
- the need for economic restructuring promoting no waste and equitable distribution
- an understanding and respect for the principles of nature
- the restoration of life forms, and
- an intergenerational perspective on solutions.
Concluding that these themes in turn represent a new set of values that define this paradigm shift, The Sustainability Revolution describes innovative sustainable projects and policies in Colombia, Brazil, India and the Netherlands and examines future trends. Complete with a useful resources list, this is the first book of its kind and will appeal to business and government policy makers, academics, and all interested in sustainability.
“Green” has finally hit the mainstream. Soccer moms drive Priuses. And the business consultants say it’s easy and profitable. In reality, though, many green-leaning businesses, families, and governments are still fiddling while the planet burns. Why? Because implementing sustainability is brutally difficult. In this witty and contrarian book, Auden Schendler, a sustainable business foot soldier with over a decade’s worth of experience, gives us a peek under the hood of the green movement. The consultants, he argues, are clueless. Fluorescent bulbs might be better for our atmosphere, but what do you say to the boutique hotel owner who thinks they detract from his? We’ll only solve our problems if we’re realistic about the challenge of climate change. In this eye-opening, inspiring book, Schendler illuminates the path.
Completely updated to keep pace with current technology.
- Provides a firm grounding the fundamentals, theory, and latest techniques.
- Includes completely updated case studies.
This international, interdisciplinary account presents a unified account of ecotechnology–the practice of ecologically sound approaches to engineering. The first section of the book introduces the basic concepts and principles of ecotechnology. The second section of the book comprises case studies of ecological engineering from around the world, including cases from Denmark, China, Japan, the United States, and Canada. Most of the examples are applications of aquatic ecosystems, such as hydrological modification, pollution control, wetland management, and lake, reservoir, and stream restoration. Chapters in the second section follow a common format–a survey of the problem or existing methodologies, a discussion of where and when these methods are ecologically sound, and a case study to illustrate in detail the proper use of the ecological engineering practice. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Bill Wallace’s book is the only “how to” manual in publication on sustainable development engineering. Not only does it define sustainable development from an engineering perspective, but it also provides companies a roadmap for creating a sustainable engineering practice. The book is loaded with examples of how companies and public agencies are adopting the principles of sustainable development and incorporating them into their projects. With hundreds of references and a CD linking the reader to key documents, organizations and software, the book is a tool kit for sustainability practitioners, saving literally thousands of hours of research and analysis.
An essential reference for all engineers and students working with energy systems, Energy Systems Engineering presents a systems approach to future energy needs, covering carbon-based, nuclear, and renewable energy sources. This unique guide explores the latest technology within each energy systems area, the benefits and liabilities of each, the challenges posed by changing energy supplies, the negative impacts from energy consumption, especially CO2 emissions, and the ways in which a portfolio of new technologies can address these problems.
Filled with over 200 detailed illustrations and tables, the book examines short-, medium-, and long-term energy options for the remainder of the twenty-first century. For each energy system, the authors provide equations and problems to help practitioners quantify the performance of the technology and better understand its potential. Energy Systems Engineering features:
- A valuable systems approach to energy engineering
- Coverage of all major energy topics_from climate change to wind power
- Both U.S. and global energy perspectives, with international comparisons
- Emphasis on CO2 issues and abatement, including carbon sequestration
- A wealth of equations and problems for each area of energy technology
- Numerous tables and graphs in PowerPoint format for easy presentation
The only guide to understanding ethical challenges in engineering projects from both a technical and a social perspective
What does it mean to be a “good” engineer, planner, or design professional in the ethical sense? Technical professionals must make daily decisions which impact upon the quality of life of those who live near the facilities, plants, structures, and thoroughfares they design, and in the cities and communities they plan and build. The questions of where these projects are built, who they are to serve, and how they will affect those who live near them are at the heart of Socially Responsible Engineering. Written from the perspective of the engineer, this new resource from two leading engineering authors is essential to professionals and students who must grapple with how solutions to engineering problems impact the people those solutions are meant to serve.
The first book of its kind to focus on the environmental implications of engineering ethics and justice, Socially Responsible Engineering provides a wealth of tools for evaluating projects from an ethical perspective and properly assessing the inherent risk to communities affected by engineering projects. This thorough book provides a historical and philosophical foundation of environmental justice, as well as:
Assuming no prior knowledge of economics, this textbook is intended for interdisciplinary environmental science and management courses. The authors, who have written extensively on the economics of sustainability, combine insights from mainstream economics as well as ecological sciences. Part I explores the interdependence of the modern economy and its environment, while Part II focuses mainly on the economy and on economics. Part III reviews how national governments set policy targets and the instruments used to pursue those targets. Part IV examines international trade and institutions, and two major global threats to sustainability – climate change and biodiversity loss.
It became obvious after we began compiling this list that 10 was simply not enough. Here are some additional must-have titles for Sustainability.
The Ultimate Guide to Greening your Home is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to green your home. It is perfect for people with home greening experience and for those who are just beginning.
The guide includes information and tips on over 40 different home greening categories. Also included is a Tax and Appliance Rebate guide which will help you identify governmental incentives for green upgrades in your state. Finally, the guide provides you with the ‘Green Checklist’, your personal home greening to-do list.
Begin transforming your home today!
Paper or plastic? Neither, say William McDonough and Michael Braungart. Why settle for the least harmful alternative when we could have something that is better–say, edible grocery bags! In Cradle to Cradle, the authors present a manifesto calling for a new industrial revolution, one that would render both traditional manufacturing and traditional environmentalism obsolete. Recycling, for instance, is actually “downcycling,” creating hybrids of biological and technical “nutrients” which are then unrecoverable and unusable. The authors, an architect and a chemist, want to eliminate the concept of waste altogether, while preserving commerce and allowing for human nature. They offer several compelling examples of corporations that are not just doing less harm–they’re actually doing some good for the environment and their neighborhoods, and making more money in the process. Cradle to Cradle is a refreshing change from the intractable environmental conflicts that dominate headlines. It’s a handbook for 21st-century innovation and should be required reading for business hotshots and environmental activists. –Therese Littleton
Detailing cutting-edge green techniques and methods, this book teaches project managers how to maximize resources and get the most out of limited budgets. It supplies proven techniques and best practices in green project management, including risk and opportunity assessments. With illustrative case studies and insights from acknowledged leaders in green project management, the text:
- Explains how to tap into green incentives, including grants, rebates, and tax credits
- Includes case studies that illustrate how to integrate green techniques and methods to generate cost savings and maximize resources
- Provides project managers with green techniques that take little time to implement, can benefit all types of projects, and can generate immediate savings to your project’s bottom line
4th edition of this book since 1993. The first to be published outside Australia.Detailing the principles, techniques and systems for sustainable development of rural and urban landscapes. Keyline methods enable the rapid development of deep biologically fertile soil by converting subsoil into living topsoil. Keyline pattern cultivation enables the rapid flood irrigation of undulating land without terracing. Incidental results are the healing of soil erosion, bio-adsorption of salinity and the long term storage of atmospheric carbon in the soil as humus. The Keyline Scale of Permanence provides a priority guide to planning the various factors of broad scale development. This is a recommended text for Permaculture students. It includes updated selections and information; from P.A. Yeomans’s books:- The Keyline Plan (1954); The Challenge of Landscape (1958); (Water for Every Farm (1964 and 2nd edition 1968) and The City Forest (1971).
This is the definitive Permaculture design manual in print since 1988. It is the text book and curriculum for the 72-hour Certificate course in Permaculture Design. Written for teachers, students and designers, it follows on and greatly enlarges on the initial introductory texts, Permaculture One (1978) and Permaculture Two (1979) both of which are still in demand over twenty years after publication. Very little of the material found in this book is reproduced from the former texts. It covers design methodologies and strategies for both urban and rural applications describing property design and natural farming techniques.
Hawken (The Ecology of Commerce) and Amory and Hunter Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, an environmental think tank, have put together an ambitious, visionary monster of a book advocating “natural capitalism.” The short answer to the logical question (What is natural capitalism?) is that it is a way of thinking that seeks to apply market principles to all sources of material value, most importantly natural resources. The authors have two related goals: first, to show the vast array of ecologically smart options available to businesses; second, to argue that it is possible for society and industry to adopt them. Hawken and the Lovinses acknowledge such barriers as the high initial costs of some techniques, lack of knowledge of alternatives, entrenched ways of thinking and other cultural factors. In looking at options for transportation (including the development of ultralight, electricity-powered automobiles), energy use, building design, and waste reduction and disposal, the book’s reach is phenomenal. It belongs to the galvanizing tradition of Frances Moore Lapp?’s Diet for a Small Planet and Stewart Brand’s The Whole Earth Catalog. Whether all that the authors have organized and presented so earnestly here can be assimilated and acted on by the people who run the world is open to question. But readers with a capacity for judicious browsing and grazing can surely learn enough in these pages to apply well-reasoned pressure.
Starred Review. Just before her death, scientist, farmer and leading environmentalist Meadows (1941-2001) completed an updated, 30th anniversary edition of her influential 1972 environmental call to action, Limits to Growth, as well as a draft of this book, in which she explains the methodology-systems analysis-she used in her ground-breaking work, and how it can be implemented for large-scale and individual problem solving. With humorous and commonplace examples for difficult concepts such as a “reinforcing feedback loop,” (the more one brother pushes, the more the other brother pushes back), negative feedback (as in thermostats), accounting for delayed response (like in maintaining store inventory), Meadows leads readers through the increasingly complex ways that feedback loops operate to create self-organizing systems, in nature (“from viruses to redwood trees”) and human endeavor. Further, Meadows explicates methods for fixing systems that have gone haywire (“The world’s leaders are correctly fixated on economic growth …but they’re pushing with all their might in the wrong direction”). An invaluable companion piece to Limits to Growth, this is also a useful standalone overview of systems-based problem solving, “a simple book about a complex world” graced by the wisdom of a profound thinker committed to “shaping a better future.”
In the 20th century, cheap and abundant energy brought previously unimaginable advances in health, wealth, and technology, and fed an explosion in population and consumption. But this growth came at an incredible cost. Climate change, peak oil, freshwater depletion, species extinction, and a host of economic and social problems now challenge us as never before. The Post Carbon Reader features articles by some of the world’s most provocative thinkers on the key drivers shaping this new century, from renewable energy and urban agriculture to social justice and systems resilience. This unprecedented collection takes a hard-nosed look at the interconnected threats of our global sustainability quandary–as well as the most promising responses. The Post Carbon Readeris a valuable resource for policymakers, college classrooms, and concerned citizens.
For the past quarter-century, mainstream architecture has proceeded on the underlying belief that we have the resources to build whatever and as much as we want and that technology can overcome any problems we create for ourselves through our building activities. The serious shortages that now confront us demand a thorough reevaluation of this premise. Carl Stein, nationally recognized for his contributions to the field of sustainable design, connects the impact of individual building design decisions to the global energy and environmental crises. He sets out the argument for sustainability inherent in Modern design, identifying tenets that are intrinsic to contemporary ecological thinking, and he provides the nuts-and-bolts information to assist practitioners and students of architecture, engineering, planning, and environmentalism in specific building-upgrade projects. While not a how-to handbook, Greening Modernism provides quantitative data and describes the environmental benefits from the continued use of the vast inventory of modern buildings, including reduced demand for energy and other finite resources and reduced need for waste processing. Greening Modernismexplains the relationships between design and technology in the pre-petroleum, early-petroleum, and late-petroleum eras and goes on to suggest opportunities for architecture in a post-petroleum world.