Blog: Leonie BarrieAdidas joins world's most sustainable companies

Leonie Barrie | 22 January 2015

German sporting goods giant Adidas Group has been named as the world's third most sustainable company this year, according to a ranking released by Toronto-based media company Corporate Knights to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Not only was Adidas recognised as best European company, but it climbed from eighth place in 2014 and was the only firm in the ‘Textiles, Apparel & Luxury Goods' category to make it onto the list. 

Topping the ‘2015 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World index' is US-based biotechnology company Biogen Idec, and pharmaceuticals firm Allergan. UK-based retailer Marks & Spencer was ranked 16th.

Of course, determining which companies are "sustainable" and which are not is a challenging enterprise, as Corporate Knights is the first to admit. Not only is there no single, universally accepted definition of "corporate sustainability," but publicly traded companies are exceedingly complex institutions, often spanning multiple geographies and industrial sectors.

Against this backdrop, the group takes the approach of unpackaging corporate sustainability into its component parts. Qualifying Global 100 companies are scored on 12 quantitative key performance indicators (KPIs) that run the gamut from energy and water use, to employee compensation and corporate tax strategy.

In terms of resources, Corporate Knights looks at a company's energy use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water use, and waste. Investments in R&D, tax paid, revenue, EBITDA, and the gap between the CEO's pay and that of the average employee are taken into account. Other metrics include health and safety, including worker fatalities, staff turnover, leadership diversity, and efforts to link pay to corporate sustainability performance.

Adidas Group CEO Herbert Hainer says the nomination "underlines the great work our teams have been doing over the last years and the positive impact we have made. Through our work, we will continue to push boundaries as we strive to lead the way towards a sustainable future for our company and the entire industry."

For more news and insight on the Adidas Group click here.

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