We don't yet have many, if any, truly sustainable businesses, but there are hundreds of thousands of businesses that are at different stages on their own journey of transition. Sustainability-leading businesses are visionary in that they set themselves more challenging targets, try new solutions, develop workable practices and blaze a trail for others to follow. 

2 min read | Last updated 11 June 2021

Corporate Knights Global 100 is an annual list of large businesses that are considered to be the world’s most sustainable corporations (relative to their peers). Four 2020 Global 100 businesses are listed below along with what they have to say about their journey toward sustainability.

Note that each business aims to find a balance between business growth, environmental protection and delivering benefits to multiple stakeholders, and to deliver this strategically through core operations and their supply chain, not through peripheral CSR initiatives.

Bombardier is a Canadian transportation manufacturer:

“Sustainability plays a vital role in our work. From the assembly line to the boardroom, we’re committed to responsible practices across our business. We also know that our commercial success depends on creating safe, innovative, eco-efficient rail and aerospace solutions that bring value to passengers and further their mobility in society. By doing this, we will be able to grow our business, address complex global issues, and provide benefits to our customers, employees, shareholders, and society at large.”

Accionia is a Spanish construction company:

“Accionia carries out its business activities based on the commitment to contribute to the economic, environmental and social development of the communities in which it operates. The company thus offers its expertise in the design of a better planet, providing a response to infrastructure, water and energy needs through innovative, responsible solutions that generate real progress based on an unusual, alternative way of doing business.“

Valeo is a French vehicle parts manufacturer:

“As a technology company, we create innovative products and systems that help protect the environment, reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions and promote the development of intuitive, connected and more autonomous driving. We are committed to a growing in a sustainable way that is beneficial for our employees, the environment and society as a whole.”

Neste is a Finnish petroleum producer:

“Neste’s vision is to create responsible choices every day with a purpose to create a healthier planet for our children. We provide value for society by developing renewable, low-emission and circular solutions for transportation, aviation, and marine uses, as well as for the chemical and plastics industries. This helps our customers reduce climate emissions and crude oil dependency, in addition to which it accelerates circular economy. Sustainability is an integral part of our strategy. It is also integrated into our values that guide everything we do.”

Interface, a US flooring manufacturer is demonstrating visionary leadership on carbon productivity:

Source: Interface

Ørsted, a Danish energy company, has transformed itself over a 10-year period from fossil fuels to wind power.

Ørsted CEO Henrik Poulsen addresses world leaders at the United Nations Climate Action Summit, 2019

Danone, a French food company, leads the OP2B coalition to protect and restore biodiversity through food industry transformation.

Former chairman and CEO of Danone Emmanuel Faber addresses the United Nations General Assembly, 2019