Is sustainability in danger of degenerating into a hollow buzzword? A number of companies strive for climate protection and against the waste of resources on the flags. A CO2 balance can be calculated relatively easily by investing in reforestation projects, plastic packaging can be replaced by more environmentally friendly alternatives without fundamental changes. However, how employees are dealt with is sometimes a completely different matter.
The most sustainable companies in the world
The “Wall Street Journal” wanted to find out which companies are run most sustainably worldwide. According to the information, more than 5500 listed companies were examined on the basis of up to 165 factors from these areas:
- Employees (employees and workplace)
- Social capital (external social issues and aspects of the products, for example affordable prices)
- Business model & innovation
According to the WSJ, the analysts rated the respective guidelines, initiatives and actual performance of the companies. The data were said to have come from the companies themselves or from over 8,000 media sources. The results were published in October 2020.
According to the ranking, these are the most sustainably managed companies in the world.
# 10 Sekisui Chemical (Japan)
Japan is notorious for inhumanly long working hours. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Tokyo-based plastics manufacturer Sekisui Chemical has committed itself to reducing the average annual working time to less than 2000 hours by the end of 2020. For a five-day week that would correspond to just under eight hours a day. Sekisui Chemical therefore landed fourth in the “human capital” category among the more than 5500 companies examined. The Japanese group performed significantly worse in terms of social capital (89th place), environmental factors (38th) and business model & innovation (30th).
@imago images / Pius Koller
# 9 Georg Fischer (Switzerland)
Europe leads the way in sustainable management according to the WSJ ranking. Every second company in the top 10 comes from the continent. Georg Fischer from Switzerland makes the start. The industrial company, which was founded in 1802, was seventh in terms of its workforce, and twelfth in terms of business model & innovation. The assessment was less positive for environmental factors (48) and external social issues (82).
@imago images / Pacific Press Agency
# 8 HP (USA)
The world of work in the USA is shaped by extremes. Members of powerful unions enjoy strict occupational safety, while much of the economy has a hire-and-fire mentality. Two US corporations were voted into the top group worldwide by the Wall Street Journal. Hewlett-Packard secured eighth place with good results in the areas of “Business Model & Innovation” (eleventh place), “Social Personal-Financial.com” (22) and “Human Personal-Financial.com” (23). In efforts to protect the environment, it was only enough for place 79.
@imago images / Horst Galuschka
# 7 Meliá Hotels International (Spain)
Of all things, environmental protection is a weak point for the companies presented so far in the WSJ’s sustainability ranking. The picture looks completely different at Meliá Hotels International in seventh place. The Spanish hotel chain was also able to achieve seventh place worldwide in the environmental category. In all other areas it was a maximum of 36th place.
@imago images / UPI Photo
# 6 LG Electronics (South Korea)
You won’t find China in the top 10 particularly sustainably managed companies. Two Asian industrial nations were able to place themselves in the top group. Besides Japan, that was Korea with LG Electronics. The electronics manufacturer scored fourth place in the “Business Model & Innovation” category and 16th place in social capital. According to the analysts, there is room for improvement in the work environment (67th place) and environmental protection (89th).
@imago images / imagebroker
# 5 Iberdrola (Spain)
The electricity provider Iberdrola shows: In the WSJ ranking, the final verdict is often better than the evaluation of the individual categories. The Spanish group, which also offers green electricity in Germany, was between 17th and 82nd place in all four areas.
@imago images / HMB-Media
# 4 Merck KGaA (Germany)
According to the WSJ, Merck KGaA is the most sustainably managed listed company in Germany. No group in the world did better in terms of social capital than the chemical and pharmaceutical company from Darmstadt. Merck came in 28th for the work environment and 49th for “Business Model & Innovation”. In the environmental area, it was only 80th.
@imago images / Agencia EFE
# 3 Cisco Systems (USA)
According to the report, Cisco Systems wants to reduce its supply chain emissions by 30 percent. 80 percent of suppliers would therefore have to agree to corresponding targets by 2025. The telecommunications company, which manufactures routers and distributors among other things, also wants to focus more on recycling and a longer service life for its products. This earned Cisco fifth place in the “Business Model & Innovation” category. In the other categories, the US company was between 32nd and 70th place.
@imago images / STPP
# 2 Philips (Netherlands)
At Philips, careful use of resources doesn’t just mean recycling. The Amsterdam-based manufacturer of household and health technology devices is taking back almost every medical device, refurbishing it and selling it at a bargain price, according to the report. This led to fourth place worldwide in the “social capital” category. In the work environment, however, Philips only made 82nd place.
@imago images / IPON
# 1 Sony (Japan)
According to the Wall Street Journal, no listed company is more sustainable than Sony. According to the responsible manager Shiro Kambe, the Japanese electronics company sees sustainability as an inherent mandate. “The planet and society must be sustainable and healthy for us to continue this type of business. Otherwise Sony lacks the livelihood, “he told the paper. Sony’s best ranking was seventh in the “Business Model & Innovation” category. The company placed in the top 20 for work environment and social capital. Efforts to protect the environment only reached 74th place.