Four Swedish companies among world's 'most sustainable'

Lee Roden
Lee Roden - [email protected]
Four Swedish companies among world's 'most sustainable'
A forest in northern Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Four Swedish companies have made the cut in a ranking of the world’s most sustainable businesses, with the country punching above its weight relative to the number of Swedish companies which were eligible for the study.


Every year, Toronto-based “clean capitalism” magazine Corporate Knights compiles a list of the 100 top ranking overall sustainability performers from a pool of 4,972 listed companies with a market capitalization of over $2 billion.

The result is the “Global 100”, which is based on indicators like energy productivity, carbon productivity, water productivity and waste productivity.

“With four companies, Swedish companies occupy four percent of the Global 100, yet out of the starting universe of companies (4,972), Swedish companies only represent 1.2 percent. I would say Sweden did really well,” Global 100 research head Michael Yow told The Local.

Of the Swedish companies that made the final cut, paper and wood manufacturer Holmen performed best in 21st place, followed by bank SEB at 46, clothing giant H&M at 54, and telecommunications firm Ericsson at 72.

Asked what Swedish companies do particularly well when it comes to sustainability, Yow highlighted their openness and balanced approach:

“Swedish companies are among the best disclosers in the world, and are usually able to strike a balanced performance across all three of the environmental, social and governance areas."

But Swedish firms could still learn from those in other nations, with the French in particular doing well on the legal front, according to the sustainability researcher.

“French companies have embraced a very rigorous sustainability disclosure legislation – strict disclosure rules encourage better performance,” Yow concluded.

German electronics giant Siemens placed first on the 2017 ranking thanks to factors like its "efficient use of energy and water" and "responsible approach to paying taxes".


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