European corporations these days are working feverishly to
develop energy-efficient methods of doing business not
only to abide by new climate change regulations but also to
gain favor with investors who increasingly are linking
so-called green initiatives to companies abilities to cut
costs and boost profitability.
[Click here to
see the complete ranking for Europe's Most-Green
Investors are paying close attention to
corporations environmental footprints, products
impacts and levels of disclosure, explains Henrik
Steffensen, co-founder and vice president of marketing,
business development and services at ASSET4, a
Switzerland-based provider of environmental,
social-responsibility and governance research.
companies are doing the best job of meeting investor
expectations with regard to environmental concerns? To find
out, Institutional Investor asked analysts and portfolio
managers who participated in the 2010 All-Europe Executive Team
survey, which ranks the regions best CEOs, CFOs and other
corporate leaders, to name the greenest firms in each of 32
Sustainability is about more than just being environmentally
friendly. Climate change is a serious problem and is
going to completely change the way we produce and consume
energy, predicts Paul Dickinson, chief executive of the
London-based Carbon Disclosure Project, an independent
not-for-profit data provider. There will quickly be
multitrillion-dollar changes in how the economy operates.
Companies that adapt to a new way of doing business will likely
win favor with investors.
One such company is Finlands Nokia Corp., voted the
greenest company in the Telecommunications Equipment sector.
The mobile phone manufacturer integrates environmental
responsibility into its overall business strategy, according to
Kirsi Sormunen, vice president and head of sustainability.
We have a life-cycle thinking approach, from cradle to
grave, she says.
One of Nokias most successful initiatives has been its
global recycling program, in place in 85 countries. We
have invested a lot in raising consumer awareness about their
responsibility to bring back old, used electronic devices to
collection points for proper end-of-life treatment, says
Sormunen. The firm runs 30 to 40 global take-back campaigns
annually and retrieved 4.6 million phones last year.
Executives at BMW Group, ranked No. 1 in Autos & Auto
Parts, understand that developing a green reputation is vital.
BMW is perceived as a very sporty and dynamic brand, and
our customers dont want to be blamed for being a
detriment to the environment, says Torsten Schuessler,
head of investor relations.
Last year, as a result of an energy-efficiency program
called BMW EfficientDynamics, the German automakers
vehicles were among the lowest carbon dioxide emitters in their
home country. From 1996 to 2008, BMW cut its lines CO2
emissions by more than 25 percent. We didnt
integrate EfficientDynamics into just one or two cars, we did
it with the whole BMW fleet, Schuessler says.
Munich Re, the top firm in the Insurance sector, has also
been implementing responsible corporate governance and
environmental management programs. The financial services
provider, along with its MEAG Munich ERGO Asset Management
division, was the first German company to sign the United
Nations Principles for Responsible Investment, a set of
guidelines on environmental, social and corporate governance
issues to consider when making investment decisions.
We aim to invest at least 80 percent of our equities
and interest-bearing securities in assets that are included in
a sustainability index, like the Dow Jones Sustainability
index, or that satisfy generally recognized sustainability
principles, says Thomas Kabisch, CEO and CIO of MEAG.
The Carbon Disclosure Projects Dickinson believes that
the impact of climate change on corporate profitability will
soon force many companies to answer the critical question, Are
you part of the problem or part of the solution? That is
clearly something many institutional investors are already