Global Experts Rank Unilever Number One for Sustainability Leadership in New Survey

14 May 2014
A just-released survey of expert stakeholders from business, government, NGOs, and academia across 87 countries shows that Unilever, Patagonia, Interface and M&S are viewed as leaders in corporate sustainability.
For the fourth year in a row, and by the largest margin yet, Unilever is regarded as the number-one corporate sustainability leader, with 33 percent of expert respondents identifying the company (up 8 points from 2013) as a “leader in integrating sustainability into its business strategy.” Nearly one in ten (9%, down 5 points) mention Patagonia, 7 percent mention Interface (down 4 points) and 6 percent point to M&S. Other companies named to the top 12 include: Nestle, Natura, Nike, GE, Walmart (down 5 points), Puma, IKEA (first time in top 12 list since 2004) and Coca Cola.
The full Sustainability Leaders report marks 20 years’ worth of the authors’ tracking and analysis of the evolution of the sustainability agenda, and of the leaders and institutions most responsible for driving it forward.  The report provides an overview of perceived corporate sustainability leaders from 1997 to 2014. Top companies over those years include Dow, BP, Shell, Interface, Walmart and Unilever.
Chris Guenther, Director of Research at SustainAbility commented: “The standards of leadership are dynamic and the landscape of corporate leadership has evolved since 1997, including several distinct eras defined by a handful of influential and varied companies. In the present era, the consumer products and food industries, represented in part by major retailers who exert significant influence over global supply chains, rise to the top.”
Eric Whan, Director of Sustainability at GlobeScan, said: “Comparing the current crop of recognized leaders with those from a decade ago, we see that we have moved from an era of ‘do no harm’ leadership where risk management was the dominant framework to one where early stages of transformation are emerging.”

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