New research has assessed 1,000 IR and corporate communications websites to produce a top 100 list of the firms offering the best publicly available ESG information.
Investis Digital scored companies across 50 ESG criteria, including:
- A dedicated ESG and/or sustainability section
- ESG strategy and approach, quantified
- Statement of ESG principles and policies
- Climate change topics and related risks
- Greenhouse gas emissions (Scopes 1, 2 & 3)
- Materiality assessment, quantified
- CSR topics
- Diversity and inclusion reporting.
While the full ranking can be found in its report titled The ESG 100, topping the list are Unilever, Nestlé and UK banking group NatWest. They are followed by SAP, Legal & General, BHP, Kingfisher, AstraZeneca, Coca-Cola HBC and Informa to round out the top 10.
So what marks out these firms? ‘The top 10 ESG companies consistently set clear ESG goals and share measurable progress toward meeting those goals through data-driven storytelling,’ says Kristen Kalupski, global senior vice president of marketing at Investis Digital, in a statement accompanying the report.
Kalupski adds that in ‘the age of stakeholder activism’ the top 100 firms offer a ‘benchmark for what success looks like’ as global companies face increasing pressure ‘to share credible ESG strategies with every audience ranging from investors to their own employees.’
The authors of Investis Digital’s report argue that companies are evolving into three camps: those whose purpose is completely purpose-driven; businesses that are incorporating CSR into their purpose, mission, values and vision; and businesses with no interest in being purpose-driven in any way.
Noting the shift in employee values – particularly those of Millennials – and what Investis Digital describes as ‘the war on talent’, the report authors write that ‘even businesses that do not care about stakeholder capitalism and care foremost about investors still need to make sure they’re articulating their purpose – maybe even more so.’
The authors continue: ‘In the marketplace, investors more than ever are focused on purpose-driven investing. They’re looking at purpose as a performance indicator as evidence continues to mount that purpose-driven companies outperform those that are not,’ pointing to a Harvard Business Review report on the business case for purpose.