Published on 25 June 2018


Sustainability in corporate management : household products and Health care, the two highest ranked sectors by ISS-Oekom

The share of companies in the industrialized countries with good and very good ratings is just slightly higher than in the previous year, says ISS-Oekom, in its annual survey. Moreover, the group of companies with a medium sustainability performance is larger than the proportion of companies with inadequate sustainability performance for the first time. 

For the first time, the group of companies with a medium sustainability performance is larger than the proportion of companies with inadequate sustainability performance.

France and Germany are the two countries with the largest number of companies demonstrating good CSR performance, followed by the United Kingdom, suggests one of the findings from the annual ESG performance study.

This ranking is conducted annually by ISS-Oekom Research based on analysis covering 3,900 large global companies. It distinguishes the top three companies by sector (27). This year, France and Germany stood out, as each country had 12 companies listed. For France, the results are less impressive than last year, when it managed to have 16 companies ranked.

Among the French companies to stand out this year is Valéo, with the highest score (B-), Peugeot (C+) for the automotive sector, Schneider Electric (B) for the electronic components sector, Amundi (C+) for the finance sector, Sanofi (B-) for the pharmaceutical sector, and CNP Assurances (B-) for the insurance sector.

Consumer goods at the top, real estate a flop

The highest rated sectors were household and consumer goods (43/100), followed by health care facilities and services (41/100) and semiconductors (40/100). At the bottom of list was distribution (24.5/100) and real estate (23.5/100).

Even if this ranking is used by companies to compare themselves, the rating agency also insists that the results reflect global trends. Thus, while growth from best-performing companies (which represent 17,2% of the companies analyzed in the ranking) has started to stagnate, "for the first time, companies demonstrating insufficient CSR measures are now in the minority (39.2%) compared to those in the middle, a figure which also continues to develop (43.6%)" says Julia Haake, Head of Responsible Investment Advisory at ISS-Oekom.

An increase in overall performance is due in part to improved reporting globally, especially in Europe with the European directive on extra-financial transparency. But it is also due to growth in corporate extra-financial performance, increasing their efforts in areas highlighted by the rating agency.

Narrowing the gap between emerging and developed countries

Another interesting finding from the study is the narrowed gap between company performance from developed countries (31,5/100) and that of emerging countries (21,7%). For certain sectors, such as the oil & gas sector, results for both regions are almost identical. The difference is almost more noticeable between Europe, where gas is strongly emphasised, and North America, where "dirty" fossil fuels such as shale gas and oil sands are more exploited.

Lastly, the ISS Oekom report assessed how the companies evaluated contribute to the SDGs through its products and services. Out of the 2,300 companies analysed, 36% make a positive contribution, 7.8% of which are "very positive", through educational services, healthcare services or green technology, and 22% are in stark opposition (tobacco, oil & gas, automobile, and food services). The remaining 41% have a neutral impact.

Concerning the climate specifically, companies should spare no effort in their engagements. According to the report, only 5.6% of companies are performing on this subject.

Béatrice Héraud @beatriceheraud

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