In their issue devoted to the world’s most admired companies, Fortune Magazine includes a section listing their top 10 most socially responsible companies.   The list actually features 11 companies, since there is a tie at both the eighth and tenth spots.

The 10 Most Socially Responsible Companies in the World

1. Statoil – Fortune’s pick for the most socially responsible company in the world is this Oslo-based oil and gas giant, which is 67% owned by the Norwegian government.  While the company is beginning to expand into alternative energy, the bulk of their profits come from oil exploration, refining and distribution (Statoil owns and operates over 2000 gas stations worldwide). 

2. Grupo Ferrovial – A Spanish conglomerate involved in transportation and urban infrastructure services.

3. Walt Disney Company – The house that Mickey built is the only US-based company in the top 5.  Some of their more interesting initiatives include:  running Disneyland trains on biodiesel made with cooking oil from the resort’s hotels, establishing a worldwide conservation fund and instituting a “green standard” for all employees and cast members.

4. Edison – Founded in 1884, this Milan-based firm is Europe’s oldest energy company.  Despite its age, Edison is one of the leading renewable energy providers in Europe with 68 hydroelectric facilities, 29 wind farms, and one solar facility currently online (17% of the company’s installed capacity is in renewable and is their fastest growing segment).

5. ENI – Another Milan-based energy company, specializing in oil, gas E&P as well as petrochemicals.  In 2010, ENI was named the best company in the world for the online communication of its corporate social responsibility initiatives in the annual survey conducted by Lundquist, which analyzed the 91 companies listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

6. Whole Foods Market – The supermarket chain that brought organic products to the mainstream American consumer.  Given Whole Foods’ longstanding commitment to CSR issues, it’s not a surprise to see it make this list.

7. Total – French oil and gas conglomerate with strong adherence to the principles of the UN’s Global Compact.

8. (tie) Hochtief – Germany’s largest construction company and a leader in the green real estate space, Hochtief is also a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability index.

8. (tie) Nestle – One of the largest food manufacturers in the world, in 2009 Nestle instituted “The Cocoa Plan” in an effort to encourage sustainability, labor rights and fair trade in the cocoa industry.   But, like some of the other larger companies on this list, Nestle has been frequently criticized for their questionable business practices and alleged greenwashing.

10. (tie) NextEra Energy – Formerly known as Florida Power & Light, Nextera rebranded themselves in 2009 in an effort to disassociate themselves from a regional sounding name (they operate is 28 US states and Canada) and to highlight their aggressive move into renewable energy.  NEE is the largest owner and operator of wind power farms in the US and second only to Iberdrola in the world (44% of NEE’s total energy output comes from wind power).

10. (tie) Weyerhauser -one the biggest players in the global forest products industry, Weyerhauser owns 6.6 million acres of commercial timberland worldwide and another 15.2 million acres on long-term leases in Canada.  According to their website, 99% of these forests are certified to sustainable forestry standards.

Can Disney climb to head the ranking in the CSR field?
“Disney the CSR Giant”
The Walt Disney Company unveiled a comprehensive plan to go green and reduce its overall environmental impact. The company’s full corporate responsibility report outlines a three-to-five year plan that aims to achieve several goals at Disney’s parks and resorts such as cutting greenhouse emission gas by 50%, reduction of electricity consumption by 10% as well as minimization of waste by 50%. 

Current scientific conclusions indicate that reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are required to avert accelerated climate change. This challenge demands fundamental changes in the way society, including businesses such as Disney, use natural resources. Disney’s approach to greenhouse gas emissions goals follows a hierarchy of avoiding emissions, reducing emissions through efficiency, replacing high-carbon fuels with low-carbon alternatives and then using high-quality offsets for our remaining emissions.
Disney is focused on taking steps to be more efficient in electricity consumption, to procure clean electricity from utilities and to invest in clean energy projects.

On the other hand
Healthy ecosystems provide many benefits to Disney and the communities in which we work and live. Disney focused on implementing an ecosystem management strategy designed to deliver a net positive impact.

Disney is strongly committed to reducing the risk of injury and illness to its employees, and to manage problems that do occur. Disney utilizes a team-based safety strategy centered on the belief that safety is everyone’s responsibility and rests with each employee

Disney partners with parents in their quest to raise healthy, happy kids, and recognize its unique ability to help parents and kids make positive lifestyle choices. Disney Magic of Healthy Living program associates Disney brands and characters with a more nutritionally balanced range of foods, offering healthier options at all its parks and with its licensed foods, and inspiring healthier lifestyles among kids.

Playing outside is critical to keeping kids physically fit. Studies also show that play is important in the development of children’s imagination and cognitive and emotional strength. Disney Magic of Healthy Living is helping to expand access to play — working to build community playgrounds, provide creative play spaces and support active play instruction.
Disney encourages parents to be actively engaged with their children in viewing Disney content or experiencing Disney movies, parks and online platforms. Throughout its entertainment offerings, Disney provide forums and content that both value and respect children and give adults a point of connection to the children in their lives.

Disney is committed to appealing to broad audiences and reflecting the diversity and multiculturalism of its audiences and the world. Disney believes that diversity of content is integral for the growth and viability of Disney, and that it allows it to engage and remain relevant to a broader community of viewers.

Since Disney’s earliest days, a guiding philosophy has been to act as a compassionate and generous company that leverages its resources to bring happiness, hope and laughter to the lives of children and families in need and promotes a culture of “giving back.”

Disney is focused on ensuring that future generations have experiences and opportunities that help them develop lifelong conservation values through nature exploration. Disney also recognizes that it can help inspire and support parents by sharing with them the value of nature and how it nurtures the development of healthier kids and families.

By Hatem Salem/ Chairman & CEO “ACT CSR” hatem@actcsr.com

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