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The Weekender: The Top 100 Most Sustainable Companies (...at least according to Barron's)

September 29, 2018

 

Image credit: Borja Bonaque for Barron's 

 

The Weekender features a longer form publication or multimedia production from a reputable source. We select articles or things to watch or listen to that discuss issues and opportunities we deem just off the radar for many business people, students, and faculty. We aim to expand the mind, broaden the heart, and sharpen the analysis. Have a great weekend!

 

My notes:

Many have come forward to rank companies according to their sustainability performance. It is certainly not an exact science and I strongly encourage you to check out the methodology section.

 

Even with their limitations, these lists are helpful as snapshots of both current performance and our current understanding of how to measure the environmental and social impact of business.  Both are currently insufficient but improving.

 

Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies (by Leslie Nortan, Barron's)

 

"Barron’s offers our first ranking of the most sustainable companies in the U.S. We have always aimed to provide information about what keenly interests investors—and what affects investment risk and performance."


"To create our ranking, we turned to a sustainable-investing stalwart: Calvert Research and Management, an arm of Eaton Vance(EV). Calvert ran one of the first U.S. socially responsible mutual funds and has been applying ESG factors to company research for decades."

 

"Calvert began by taking the 1,000 largest publicly held companies by market value, with headquarters in the U.S., as of Dec. 31. It excluded real estate investment trusts and master limited partnerships because their sustainability data remain uneven. Then, Calvert looked at 300 performance indicators for each company from data providers including Institutional Shareholder Services, Sustainalytics, and Thomson Reuters Asset4 in five categories: shareholders, employees, customers, planet, and community." 

 

"The group had a remarkable share-price performance as a whole for 2017—returning 29%, compared with 22% for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index." 

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