Australia’s big four banks made it into Corporate Knights’ “100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World’ index.

Australia’s big four banks made it into Corporate Knights’ “100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World’ index.

Toronto-based media and investment advisory company Corporate Knights conducts the annual survey to gauge how organisations balance environmental, social and governance performance while delivering superior returns to investors.

Corporations that made it into the annual index were selected from more than 4,000 listed companies with a market capitalisation of more than US$2 billion.

Commonwealth Bank was the highest ranking Australian organisation, coming in at number four with an overall score of 73.9 per cent. It was followed by:

  • Westpac, who came in at number 33 with an overall score of 64.6 per cent
  • ANZ, who came in at number 67 with an overall score of 59.9 per cent
  • NAB, who came in at number 73 with an overall score of 58.9 per cent
  • Insurance Australia Group, who came in at number 74 with an overall score of 58.8 per cent

Commonwealth Bank General Manager of Corporate Responsibility, Kylie Macfarlane said Corporate Knights’ diverse scorecard approach to sustainable business practice is valuable in that it ensures every part of the way businesses do things is considered

“This includes everything, from our achievement of 35 per cent women in senior management ranks to a new target to have 40 per cent by 2020; to reducing our energy consumption; as well as ensuring that we have industry-leading and transparent reporting on a range of indicators such as tax paid, superannuation fund status and carbon emissions,” Ms Macfarlane said.

Commonwealth Bank reports its progress in corporate responsibility and sustainability in an annual Sustainability Report, and benchmarks its performance against a number of global sustainability indices and surveys.

That aside, European companies dominated the list, with Germany automobiles giant BMW jumping from sixth place last year to first place. The company’s high scores were in areas such as energy, waste and water reduction, electric vehicles as well as a perfect 100 per cent score for linking the salary of its senior executives to their sustainability performance.

Ursula Mathar, Vice President of Sustainability and Environmental Protection at BMW Group, said the company hadn’t changed its focus over the past year. However, she said the results reflect “constant engagement and continued work” across the firm.

Stronger action around sustainability also improved the company’s bottom line, which made it more competitive and attractive to shareholders

“Energy efficiency has advantages from an ecological point of view and an economic point of view,” Ms Mathar said, commenting on the fact that half of the company’s electricity energy worldwide now comes from renewable sources.

Click here to view the top 100 companies.