Top 50 socially responsible corporations
Macleans.ca – 2011/06/09/better-business – These companies are making corporate social responsibility a key part of the business plan
Thursday, June 9, 2011. by Jantzi-Sustainalytics
- The company’s “cool rooﬁng granules” are four times more reflective than conventional granules, helping to decrease overall heat retention and cooling costs.
- Since 1990, it has cut its worldwide greenhouse gas emissions by 77 per cent and has reduced total volatile organic air emissions by 96 per cent.
- Earlier this year, and for the seventh time, 3M was named a winner of the Energy Star Sustained Excellence Award for its global energy conservation efforts.
- Uses environmentally innovative materials in certain product lines. Its Supernova Glide 3 running shoe is made with 50 per cent recycled polyester and 100 per cent recycled polyester laces.
- The adidas Group is committed to using 100 per cent “Better Cotton” in all its products by 2018. “Better Cotton” is produced more sustainably than traditional cotton, by cutting water consumption considerably and addressing pesticide management, crop rotation and labour conditions.
- Has partnered with Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus’s micro-finance organization, Grameen Bank, to manufacture a low-cost shoe for the poor in Bangladesh.
Bank of Montreal
- Accessibility initiatives have resulted in an increase in business with Aboriginal customers, from $1.4 billion in 2008 to $1.7 billion in 2010.
- One of two investors in the Greening Canada Fund, a first-ever carbon emissions reduction fund exclusively targeting large Canadian corporations. The fund will purchase and redistribute carbon offset credits sourced from social and non-profit organizations.
- In March, the company launched the BMO Eco Smart Mortgage at a market-leading rate, making it more accessible to mainstream customers.
- For every cellular phone tower built for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, the company consulted with First Nations groups and located First Nation burial grounds prior to construction.
- Contributed $10 million toward the construction of a Youth Virtual Health Centre, providing small Quebec communities with easier access to medical specialists.
- Has contributed $250,000 toward the construction of the LEED-certified Centre for Sustainable Development in Montreal, home to several NGOs with a sustainability focus.
Best Buy Co., Inc.
- Hosts “Tech it Away” e-waste drives at Canadian schools to collect and recycle used electronics, in exchange for grants. In 2010, Best Buy and three Vancouver schools diverted 54,000 kg of e-waste from landﬁlls, with each participating school receiving $10,000 in technology grants from Best Buy.
- Partnered with ECOtality, a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies, to install Blink electric-vehicle charging stations at select Best Buy stores. The company is also working with Mitsubishi Motors and power company Eaton Corporation to support electric vehicle ownership.
- In 2010, it integrated its sustainability scorecard throughout the entire BMW Group. Every project must now be assessed in terms of resource consumption, emissions and social impacts.
- The BMW Guggenheim Lab, a mobile laboratory that will travel to nine major cities worldwide over six years, will be launched in August. Acting as a community centre, gathering space and think tank, the lab will be led by architects, designers and scientists to address environmental and social innovations.
- Explicit targets include having 20 per cent of aerospace management positions filled by women by 2012.
- The first manufacturer to be certified by the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association for its dismantling and recycling efforts.
- New ECO4 train technologies generate overall energy savings of 50 per cent compared to previous models. ECO4 technologies include low-energy interior climate systems, wayside storage of regenerated braking energy, and use of more sustainable materials.
Brookfield Office Properties Inc.
- Increased the number of its LEED certified properties by 78 per cent in 2010. All future developments will be built to LEED Gold standards.
- The company’s Queen’s Quay terminal building in Toronto won the 2010 BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada) Toronto Earth Award and the 2010 BOMA National Earth Award in recognition of resource preservation and environmentally sound commercial building management.
- Brookfield Office Properties was awarded the Sustainable Corporate Real Estate Round-table’s “Outstanding Landlord of the Year 2010” by the Sustainability Roundtable, Inc.
- Incorporates sustainability as part of its scorecard for executive compensation; performance criteria include community development, diversity and reductions in energy and water use.
- Aims to eliminate 100 million lb. of packaging materials by 2020; over the past two years, the company has eliminated over 9.3 million lb. of packaging.
- For every “Nourish” product purchased, the company donates one canned food item to Food Banks Canada and 25 cents to the United Nations World Food Programme.
Canadian National Railway Co.
- Awarded 36 scholarships in 2010 to women studying in non-traditional fields—like railway technology and operations—as well as scholarships to children with disabilities and those in Aboriginal communities.
- Since 1995, CN has acquired 631 new locomotives, of which 90 were acquired in the 2009–2010 period. These new locomotives are up to 20 per cent more fuel efficient, producing 40 per cent less nitrogen oxide.
- Appointed a chief safety sustainability officer in 2010 and remains one of few North American transport companies to appoint board oversight of environmental issues.
- All fine papers are made using biogas, a natural fuel made from carbon dioxide and methane gases emitted from landfills. Cascades’ biogas project is believed to be the first of its kind in the pulp and paper industry.
- Last year, Cascades announced its collaboration with Bombardier, whereby Bombardier will purchase eco-friendly goods and services from Cascades while Cascades shares its expertise in energy efficiency to help Bombardier reduce the environmental footprint of its operations.
- The company’s Sage commercial printing papers are manufactured carbon neutral and contain 100 per cent certified sustainable fibre sources. One dollar from each Sage tonne purchased goes to GreenBlue, a not-for-profit institute that focuses on sustainable product design.
- As part of the federal government’s Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program, the company is investing $18 million in green energy and environmental projects at two mills. These projects are supported by local First Nations, based in part on business development potential such as fibre-supply and skill-building opportunities.
- In partnership with five NGOs and 400 employees, Danone’s Wash Programme has provided water and sanitation services to Indonesian communities. By the end of 2011, the program is expected to reach more than 65,000 people.
- Partnered with Micropharma, a Canadian firm specializing in biological sciences, to develop new technologies in cholesterol reduction for dairy products.
- Beginning in 2011, Danone’s Evian brand aims to achieve carbon neutrality through the use of carbon offsets and by reducing energy consumption, packaging and transport distances.
- Committed $10 million toward education initiatives in 2011 in connection with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. More than 70 per cent of Dell’s contributions will help young people in underserved communities.
- Online “Green Store” offers business products that are certified to global environmental standards such as Energy Star or the Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool. Other product considerations include material used, energy efficiency, and recyclability.
- Reduced customers’ laptop- and desktop-related energy costs by 25 per cent—draws less current from the grid while using more material-efficient hardware options—marking the achievement of an ambitious energy reduction commitment made in 2008.
Ford Motor Company
- Trained 180,000 of its supply-chain workers on its human rights policy between 2009 and 2010.
- Launched a sustainability initiative for Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers to reduce their carbon footprint and improve the energy efficiency of their dealerships. Ford partnered with Rocky Mountain Institute, a leading think tank on resource efficiency, to pilot new technologies and architectural design principles at three geographically diverse dealerships.
- Plans to introduce five new electric vehicles in North America by 2012. Reduced CO2 emissions from its 2009 North American vehicle models by 12 per cent.
- This year, the International Center for Research on Women named Gap the recipient of the Champions for Change Award for Innovation, in recognition of its Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement program, which provides life skills and enhanced technical skills to female garment workers to help them advance in the workplace.
- To implement company-wide environmental initiatives, it has formed an environmental council comprised of senior executives and mid-level managers.
- New “FlexEfficiency 50” power plant is engineered to respond to ﬂuctuations in wind and solar power, promoting the integration of more renewable resources into the power grid. The plant will deliver energy to power roughly 600,000 homes.
- GE’s “ecomagination challenge” is a $200-million open innovation contest aimed at identifying and funding small firms with the most innovative ideas for greening the power grid.
- Established a US$6-billion “Healthymagination” business strategy to improve cost, quality and access to health care. The initiative includes US$3 billion in research and development.
- Labour compliance program is accredited by the Fair Labor Association, which commits participating companies to a set of obligations related to improving working conditions.
- Has fully equipped medical clinics at its manufacturing facilities in Central America and the Caribbean, where employees receive health care services ranging from workplace-related health issues to prenatal care and free vaccinations.
- Dominican Republic textile facility and Honduran hosiery facilities use biomass to generate energy. Similar biomass steam-generation projects for the other textile facilities were initiated in 2011 in Honduras.
- Using the Coca-Cola Company’s “PlantBottle Packaging,” 30 per cent of Heinz’s ketchup-bottle material is derived from plants. Heinz has also introduced lighter cans to improve transport efficiency.
- Built an energy centre at a U.K. canning site which generates up to 140 tonnes of steam per hour, large volumes of which are used to produce canned food.
- Its “micronutrient campaign” is combatting the threat of iron-deficiency anemia and vitamin and mineral malnutrition among infants and children in the developing world. To date, five million children in 15 developing countries have received packets of Heinz’s life-saving vitamin and mineral powders.
H&M (Hennes & Mauritz AB)
- Has a goal of sourcing 100 per cent of cotton from sustainable sources by 2020, which is considered ambitious in the sector.
- In April, the company’s ﬁrst “Conscious Collection” launched in stores worldwide. The clothing line for men, women, and children is made from more environmentally friendly materials, such as organic and recycled fabrics.
- By the end of 2011, H&M will have phased out 12 types of clothing hangers, replacing them with multi-function hangers to reduce waste—85 per cent of its non-reusable hangers have been recycled.
- Working with the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition and the Global eSustainability Initiative Extractives Group, HP supported the passage of U.S. legislation addressing conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Companies are now required to report whether their products contain minerals originating in the DRC or neighbouring countries.
- Each year, more than 70,000 customers use HP’s trade-in program to replace their old technology with newer models. Outdated models are refurbished and returned to market.
- Strong health and safety management systems, with clear company-wide and operation-specific targets, aim to reduce accidents, while a portion of executive compensation is explicitly tied to safety performance.
- Programs to consult with local communities include systems to identify stakeholders; active consultation groups; and mechanisms to address grievances.
- All but one of the company’s mines have received ISO 14001 certification of their environmental management systems.
- Founded the Green Sigma Coalition, an industry alliance of over 10 companies, to provide technological solutions for energy, water, waste and greenhouse gas management.
- Public Sector Energy and Environment Diagnostic is the first consulting tool designed to help governments analyze energy and water use, assess waste management, evaluate overall environmental impact and develop improvement strategies.
- This year, IBM partnered with India’s Bureau of Energy Efficiency to create the country’s first smart-grid energy project. IBM will generate a business case for increased energy efficiencies and will provide relevant tools for improving the country’s energy distribution chain.
- The company’s moderate compensation scheme is an anomaly for the industry. The CEO is paid less than those of similarly sized companies, and the top three executives waived bonuses for 2010 in response to investor criticism.
- More than 40 per cent of its business units have collective bargaining agreements in place for its employees, the highest among its peers.
- One of the ﬁrst international banks to exclude investments in controversial weapons, gambling, fur production, and cosmetics that use animal testing.
- Financially supported the tin industry’s efforts to create a traceability system of metals coming from conflict areas, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- Sustainability in Action Grant program provides funding for employee environmental projects. Projects supported to date have included biofuel, solar energy and water conservation developments.
- As the number one voluntary purchaser of renewables in the U.S., Intel committed to purchasing 2.5 billion kilowatts of renewable energy credits in 2011, constituting approximately 85 per cent of its electricity use in the U.S.
- Initiated a unique breakfast-sharing program that aims to provide one million breakfasts in schools in the 2011-2012 school year. For every breakfast photo or description uploaded to the company’s website or sent via text, Kellogg’s will provide a breakfast to a disadvantaged child in participating schools.
- In 2011, Kellogg announced that it will increase its ownership of “GreenPalm” certificates to cover 100 per cent of its palm oil use in a bid to help reduce deforestation associated with palm oil production. Kellogg’s is the first in the food industry to take this step.
- Human Rights Adherence and Veriﬁcation Program includes training on human rights issues for security personnel and key management, as well as systems for reporting and investigating alleged violations.
- Conducts global employee surveys to gauge overall satisfaction and employees’ perspectives on the company’s safety and environmental performance to identify areas for improvement.
- Has been leading a $2.5-million initiative to rehabilitate Rico Creek in Brazil from the impact of previous artisanal mining activities.
- One of few companies in the industry to provide a statement on the use of nanotechnologies in its beauty products. Given the uncertain impact of nano-ingredients on human health, such disclosure is significant.
- All wood fibre used in L’Oreal’s packaging is obtained from sustainably certified sources. The company also uses Trulor cardboard, which is lighter in weight and made using a chlorine-free production process.
- L’Oreal’s Body Shop subsidiary is one of few cosmetic brands which does not test on animals. The Body Shop regularly complies with internationally recognized audits conducted by the Humane Cosmetics Standard of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection.
Loblaw Companies Limited
- Organic waste collected from select corporate stores in Ontario are sent to biogas facilities to generate renewable energy, while eight Quebec stores send their organic waste to local farms to be converted into compost material.
- Loblaw’s “Grown Close to Home” program promotes local Canadian growers. Approximately 40 per cent of produce in Loblaw stores is locally sourced during July and August.
- Loblaw has a goal to reduce non-recyclable packaging in its own control brand products by 50 per cent by year-end 2013. Since 2007, the company has also reduced the number of shopping bags from its stores by 2.5 billion, and reports a 73 per cent reduction in shopping-bag use nationwide in 2010.
- Is a recipient of the 2011 Catalyst Award for advancement of women; over one quarter of the company’s management positions (vice-president level or above) are filled by women.
- The company’s Eco-Filter global packaging scorecard takes environmental considerations into account in its packaging choices. The Eco-Filter uses criteria such as packaging-weight reduction and use of recycled materials in its evaluation.
- Working with the World Wildlife Fund, McDonald’s “Sustainable Land Management Commitment” requires suppliers to source raw materials, such as beef and palm oil, from certified sustainable sources.
- Has donated 476,000 doses of Gardasil—a cervical cancer vaccine—to 13 approved groups in Bhutan, Bolivia, Cambodia and other developing countries. The company has pledged to donate at least three million doses of Gardasil to the developing world.
- Has provided 1.3 million free doses of its RotaTeq rotavirus vaccine to infants in Nicaragua.
- In 2010, it contributed US$30 million, over five years, to its African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships, establishing 32 antiretroviral treatment sites and 170 clinics throughout Botswana.
- Operating in Yemen since 1987, its scholarship program provides funding for Yemeni students to pursue post-secondary degrees in Canada. The program has awarded 130 scholarships and will have 70 graduates by the end of 2011; 30 per cent of the scholars are female.
- Member of the Horn River Basin Producers Group, which was established to ensure that shale gas in northeastern British Columbia is produced responsibly. The group is funding research to better understand and manage the industry’s surface impacts and use of water.
- By 2020, the company aims to have 100 per cent of its footwear, apparel and equipment meet its “considered design” standards, which draw upon innovation to reduce the amount of materials, waste and solvents used in its products.
- Nike shares its Environmental Apparel Design Tool with other companies and designers to help promote broader sustainability innovation.
- This year, Nike was awarded for its leadership in sustainability reporting by investment advocacy group Ceres and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
- Open-source data-gathering software compiles information on global issues via mobile devices. It has been used to collect birth registration information in Africa, water data in drought-affected areas and provide dengue fever response in Brazil.
- Provides an online eco-profile that estimates the environmental impact of each of Nokia’s products.
- First company to join the Saving Our Species initiative spearheaded by the Global Environment Facility, the World Bank Group and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to build a conservation fund by 2015.
- PepsiCo Foods Canada achieved 98 per cent waste diversion from landfill and 40 per cent water-usage reduction at its manufacturing plants.
- First manufacturer in Canada to introduce all-electric, zero-emissions green-powered delivery trucks into its distribution network.
- Spent over $1 billion globally in 2009 alone supporting minority and women-owned businesses throughout its supply chain.
- As part of its 2011 African Road Show across 12 countries, Philips is launching three solar powered lighting solutions to improve quality of life for families living in areas that lack electricity.
- Achieved its 2012 goal to generate 30 per cent of total revenues from green products, such as its Green Performer vacuum cleaner, made of 50 per cent post-industrial plastics and 25 per cent bio-based plastics. The company plans to generate 50 per cent of revenues from green products by 2015.
- Plans to launch the world’s first LED replacement for the 75-watt incandescent bulb. The bulb is designed to meet or exceed Energy Star qualifications and consumes 80 per cent less energy than a traditional bulb, while lasting up to 25 times longer.
Procter & Gamble Co.
- As part of its environmental sustainability vision, committed to powering its plants with 30 per cent renewable energy; to reducing packaging by 20 per cent; and reducing manufacturing waste to landfills to less than 0.5 per cent of total waste, all by 2020.
- The company’s Children’s Safe Water Drinking Program has provided more than three billion litres of clean drinking water to children in developing countries through the provision of “PUR packets” that disinfect water. By 2012, the company aims to save 20,000 lives by delivering four billion litres of clean water.
- Rona’s Wood Products Procurement Policy gives preference to suppliers that offer sustainably sourced lumber. At the end of 2010, all softwood lumber offered by Rona was from certiﬁed forests.
- Created an online eco-responsible renovation guide that identifies a range of building materials, products and processes, and accompanying environmental life-cycle analysis.
Royal Bank of Canada
- Has committed more than $28 million since 2007 for freshwater protection projects through the RBC Blue Water Project.
- RBC has rolled out a policy for Capital Markets’ businesses that requires more stringent environmental and social due diligence. The policy has been recognized by key stakeholders as one of the most comprehensive among North American banks.
- As the first bank in Canada to establish an on-reserve mortgage program that did not require a federal government guarantee for Aboriginal communities, the scope of this initiative increased throughout 2010.
- The first Canadian and one of few North American banks to adopt the United Nations Global Compact, an initiative to encourage businesses to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies.
- The Scotia Global Climate Change Fund allows Canadians to invest in environmentally responsible companies. The fund is diversified across nine climate-related areas including clean fuels, water and environmental finance.
- Launched its EcoEnergy Financing Options in 2010, to support small-scale energy projects by local Canadian businesses and homeowners.
- Is a founding member of the Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), a coalition of companies that advocates for stronger regulations regarding clean energy and climate change.
- Through the provision of its Youth Action Grants, Starbucks engaged 53,736 young people in 2010 to take actions that benefit their communities.
- Increased investments to promote awareness and use of its reusable tumbler discount program, which kept 1.45 million lb. of paper out of landfills in 2010.
- Announced plans to expand its national electronics recycling program by doubling the number of retail collection sites across the country. Over the past three years, since its launch in 2008, the program has diverted more than 205,000 kg of old electronics from landfills.
- Incorporates vegetable-based raw materials into its packaging to reduce its use of conventional plastics derived from petroleum sources.
- Sony employees helped set up and support video conferencing systems for NGOs working in areas affected by the earthquake in Japan, to facilitate effective communication and coordination.
Suncor Energy Inc.
- All employees, from operators to executives, have sustainability performance targets.
- Has extensive plans in place for employee safety and security concerns, including international areas of operations. The plans were put into action to evacuate roughly 200 expatriate employees and contractors from Libya in February 2011. Suncor continues to monitor safety and security at its Syrian operations.
- Doubled biofuel production at an Ontario plant in 2010 to produce 400 million litres of renewable energy from ethanol per year.
Talisman Energy Inc.
- As part of its new “global community relations policy,” the company states that it will meet or exceed industry standards for community engagement and incorporate the broad principles of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) for local communities and indigenous peoples.
- Prior to operating in Colombia, the company conducted extensive risk assessments of internal conflict and narcotics-related violence. Precautionary measures were put into place for employee safety, human rights, community relations, biodiversity protection and security.
- To promote employee safety, Talisman rolled out “10 Golden Rules for Safe Operations” that must be followed at all operations.
TD Bank Group
- Implemented a highly transparent complaints resolution process, becoming the first North American bank to report the number of customer and employee complaints received and cases addressed.
- Has five women on the board of directors, representing close to a third of its total board membership, the highest among North American banks.
- The only North American bank to publicly support the UN-backed principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in collaboration with key stakeholders.
- In response to the 2011 Alberta fires, the company provided free wireless calling, a stoppage on billing, long-distance calling cards, replacement cellphones and over 1,600 comfort kits for relief workers and residents of Slave Lake.
- Telus House Ottawa is LEED Gold certified, representing the largest building in Ottawa to receive LEED certification.
- For every pink BlackBerry sold, the company donates $25 toward the purchase of digital mammography machines across Canada.
- President and CEO Steve Snyder was named the 2010 “Canadian Energy Person of the Year” by the Energy Council of Canada for his leadership in corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability.
- For the second time, the company has been named one of 15 Carbon Disclosure Project leaders in Canada, due to its transparency on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change strategies.
- Began construction of its “New Richmond” 66-megawatt wind project, located on the Gaspé Peninsula, Que.
- The only North American company in its industry to publish a sustainability report in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (Level B).
- Ensures that its paper fibre is from a certified sustainable forest and validated with a chain-of-custody certificate.
- Committed to a 15 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in both 2012 and 2013.
- Six VW models earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) top safety pick award for 2011, the highest rating possible from the non-profit safety research organization.
- Electronic stabilization technology is standard on all new VW and Audi Models. By detecting and minimizing skids, the computerized technology is estimated to reduce single-vehicle accidents by 34 per cent in passenger vehicles and 59 per cent in SUVs.
- Next year, the company will introduce its Jetta hybrid in North America. And the company plans to launch its first all-electric vehicle in North America by 2013.
Zara (Industria de Diseno Textil, S.A.)
- Has one of the most detailed and transparent social supply-chain standards in the retailing sector, incorporating International Labour Organization conventions and key principles of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and Global Compact.
- As part of its “Pro-Kyoto” project, INDITEX has started to incorporate biodiesel into Zara’s delivery fleet, while zero-emissions electric vehicles are replacing an older petrol–fuelled fleet.
By Jantzi-Sustainalytic analysts Annie White, Dayna Linley, Emily Joldersma, Gurneesh Bhandal, Heather Lang, Irene Sosa, Matthew Barg, Melissa Chase, Rohan Padhye, Sarah Smith, Sheila Oviedo, Stephanie LeNguyen and Zachary Paris
Methodology: The Top 50 Socially Responsible Companies in Canada were selected on the basis of their performance across a broad range of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) indicators tracked by Jantzi-Sustainalytics. The companies selected rank at the top of their respective peer groups in Jantzi-Sustainalytics’ Global Platform. These companies have demonstrated strong performance in areas such as environmental initiatives, impact on local communities, treatment of employees and supply-chain management. Some are notable for their development of products or services that contribute directly to sustainability.
Each of the companies featured is either Canadian-listed or a wholly owned subsidiary of a foreign-listed company with significant operations or brand presence in Canada. Each of the companies has a significant market capitalization or brand presence in Canada and is featured on at least one of the following lists: the ROB Top 1000, the ROB Top 350, or Interbrand’s Best Canadian or Best Global Brands lists. Given that Canadian subsidiaries of foreign companies are inextricably linked to their parent companies, the evaluation is based on the performance of the foreign corporate entities.
Jantzi-Sustainalytics’s research process includes a thorough examination of company documents, media sources, online databases, government sources and NGO research, as well as direct communication with key stakeholders. Analysts use a Best-of-Sector™ methodology to compare companies within a given peer group to industry best practices.
Jantzi-Sustainalytics’s research is used by some of the world’s largest institutional and individual investors who consider environmental, social and governance performance, in addition to financial performance, in the management of their investments.
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