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Ten Canadian firms among world's most sustainable

A truck hauls a load at Teck Resources Coal Mountain operation near Sparwood, B.C. Teck Resources Ltd. has been named Canada’s most sustainable company.

Handout/The Canadian Press

Ten Canadian companies have made it on to this year's list of the 100 most sustainable companies in the world.

The annual Global 100 list, compiled by media and research company Corporate Knights, is being released Wednesday at the World Financial Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It ranks major corporations using a wide range of factors including relative energy and water consumption, carbon emissions, waste production and several corporate governance issues such as the number of women on the board and CEO compensation relative to average employees.

The top-ranked company in the world is Umicore, a Belgium-based company that specializes in materials technology and recycling. Second on the list is Brazil's Natura Cosmeticos, a maker of personal care products.

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Canada's top company, Teck Resources Ltd., comes in at No. 21. Barrick Gold Corp. is No. 40 and Canadian National Railway Co. is No. 57.

Last year only six Canadian companies made it onto the list, but this year Canada is tied with the United States for the most representation with 10 companies each.

Doug Morrow, Corporate Knight's vice-president of research, noted that many of the Canadian companies on the list are from extractive businesses such as mining and energy.

"It convincingly demonstrates that companies from conventionally dirty industries can still fare very well in our corporate sustainability assessment," he said. "These firms "tend to have more incentive than companies based in lighter footprint industries to manage their sustainability footprint, because they are under a microscope."

To compile its list, Corporate Knights starts with 4,000 global mid- and large-cap stocks, then cuts this down to a short list of 350 firms. Each company is then contacted directly to determine the final standings. Companies are compared with others in the same industry, rather than across the whole universe.

Corporate Knights also calculated the investment performance of the Global 100 companies and compares it to the MSCI All Country World Index. Since the list was first compiled in 2005, the Global 100 has generated a 59.9-per-cent total return, above the MSCI ACWI which has returned 50.4 per cent.

THE TOP 10

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1. Umicore (Belgium), materials

2. Natura Cosmeticos (Brazil), cosmetics

3. Statoil (Norway), energy

4. Neste Oil (Finland) energy

5. Novo Nordisk (Denmark), health care

6. Storebrand (Norway), financial services

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7. Philips (Netherlands), electronics

8. Biogen Idec (U.S.), health care

9. Dassault Systemes (France), information technology

10. Westpac Banking (Australia), financial services

CANADIAN RANKINGS

21. Teck Resources Ltd., mining

40. Barrick Gold Corp., mining

57. Canadian National Railway Co., transportation

60. Telus Corp., telecommunications

71. Nexen Inc., energy

79. Enbridge Inc., energy

81. Suncor Energy Inc., energy

85. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada, financial services

87. Royal Bank of Canada, financial services

88. Cenovus Energy Inc., energy

Join the conversation on Canada's competitiveness by following Canada Competes on Twitter:@CanadaCompetes

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About the Author
Reporter, Report on Business

Richard Blackwell has reported on Canadian business for more than three decades. At the Financial Post and the Globe and Mail he has covered technology, transportation, investing, banking, securities and media, among many other subjects. Currently, his focus is on green technology and the economy. More

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