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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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For More Information, Please Contact:

  • Robin Miller, GlobeScan:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +1 647-528-2767
  • Chris Guenther, SustainAbility: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +1 415-265-9378

About SustainAbility

SustainAbility is a think tank and consultancy that for over 25 years has catalyzed and supported business leadership on sustainability. Through our agenda-setting research and advocacy, we chart new territory and help business leaders and their stakeholders understand what’s next. Through our advisory services, we help clients understand the shifting landscape of risk and opportunity, develop practical strategies and initiatives, and foster authentic, impactful engagement and collaboration with a range of stakeholders. Learn more at www.SustainAbility.com

About GlobeScan

GlobeScan is an international opinion research consultancy.  We provide global organisations with evidence-based insights to help them set strategy and shape their communications. Companies, multilateral institutions, governments and NGOs trust GlobeScan for our unique expertise across reputation management, sustainability and stakeholder relations.

GlobeScan conducts research in over 90 countries and is a signatory to the UN Global Compact.  Established in 1987, GlobeScan is an independent, management-owned company with offices in Toronto, London and San Francisco. For more information, please visit www.GlobeScan.com

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