Dow Jones green index

Wall Street is starting to pay attention to companies with a future-oriented focus on sustainability.

For example, Dow Jones has created new Sustainability Indexes to track companies that integrate economic, environmental, and social growth opportunities into their business strategies. According to a Dow spokesperson, "These sustainability companies pursue these opportunities in a proactive, cost effective and responsible manner today, so they will outpace their competitors and be tomorrow's winners.''

Canada leads all other nations with four top-ranked, sustainability-driven companies.

Corporate sustainability principles
from Dow Jones

The concept of corporate sustainability has long been very attractive to investors because of its aim to increase long-term shareholder value. Sustainability-driven companies achieve their business goals by integrating economic, environmental and social growth opportunities into their business strategies. These sustainability companies pursue these opportunities in a pro-active, cost-effective and responsible manner today, so that they will outpace their competitors and be tomorrow's winners.

Sustainability companies not only manage the standard economic factors affecting their businesses but the environmental and social factors as well. There is mounting evidence that their financial performance is superior to that of companies that do not adequately, correctly and optimally manage these important factors.

The superior performance is directly related to a company's commitment to the five corporate sustainability principles:

  • Technology: The creation, production and delivery of products and services should be based on innovative technology and organization that use financial, natural and social resources in an efficient, effective and economic manner over the long-term.
  • Governance: Corporate sustainability should be based on the highest standards of corporate governance including management responsibility, organizational capability, corporate culture and stakeholder relations.
  • Shareholders: The shareholders' demands should be met by sound financial returns, long-term economic growth, long-term productivity increases, sharpened global competitiveness and contributions to intellectual capital.
  • Industry: Sustainability companies should lead their industry's shift towards sustainability by demonstrating their commitment and publicizing their superior performance.
  • Society: Sustainability companies should encourage lasting social well being by their appropriate and timely responses to rapid social change, evolving demographics, migratory flows, shifting cultural patterns and the need for life-long learning and continuing education.

These principles are also the criteria by which sustainability companies can be identified and ranked for investment purposes. They facilitate a financial quantification of sustainability performance by focusing on a company's pursuit of sustainability opportunities e.g., meeting market demand for sustainable products and services and the reduction, ideally avoidance, of sustainability risks and costs. As a result, corporate sustainability is an investable concept. This relationship is crucial in driving interest and investments in sustainability to the mutual benefit of companies and investors. As this benefit circle strengthens, it will have a positive effect on the societies and economies of both the developed and developing world.


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