Financial advisors interested in learning which companies are regarded as good investments based on sustainability criteria can get some quick insight by looking at the Global 100.
The 2009 Global 100 was released January 28 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Since its inception in February 2005, the Global 100 has outperformed its benchmark, the MSCI World Index, by 480 basis points per year through the end of 2008, according to Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, a New York-based investment firm whose analysis underpins the list.
"The continuing outperformance of the Global 100, even in the midst of the current global financial crisis, provides eloquent testimony-and yet more evidence-for investors, company executives, governments, and civil society alike: superior positioning and performance on environmental, social and governance issues does provide a valuable leading indicator of better-managed, more agile, 'future- proof' companies. And we expect this 'sustainability premium' to become even larger in the coming years," says Matthew Kiernan, Innovest's CEO.
Although many corporations have considered sustainability issues for more than a decade, very few retail mutual funds use ESG criteria as part of their fundamental analysis. No retail mutual funds are based on the Global 100.
Still, if many people think these companies are better positioned to succeed for the long term, you might want to know who these companies are and evaluate for yourself if they are good investments. As with almost any portfolio, not every company on the Global 100 has delivered good relative financial returns in recent years (take Eastman Kodak, for example). But a lot of them have.
I thought it would be interesting to see which firms made the list every year. I found that 28 companies, including eight based in the U.S., have done so. Here they are:
Adidas AG , Germany, Textiles & Apparel
Alcoa Inc., United States, Materials
Baxter International, United States, Health Care
British Land Co PLC, United Kingdom, Financials
Centrica PLC , United Kingdom, Utilities
Diageo, United Kingdom, Consumer Staples
Eastman Kodak Co., United States, Consumer Discretionary
FPL Group Inc., United States, Utilities
Fresenius Medical Care AG, Germany, Health Care
Hewlett-Packard Co., United States Information Technology
Intel Corp., United States, Information Technology
Kesko, Finland, Consumer Staples
Kuraray Company Ltd., Japan, Materials
Lafarge, France, Materials
Land Securities Group PLC, United Kingdom, Financials
Nokia Corp., Finland, Information Technology
Novo Nordisk, Denmark, Health Care
NTT Docomo Inc., Japan, Telecommunication Services
Pinnacle West Capital Corp., United States, Utilities
Ricoh Company Limited, Japan, Information Technology
Royal Bank Of Canada, Canada, Financials
SAP AG, Germany , Information Technology
Smith & Nephew PLC, United Kingdom, Health Care
Swiss Reinsurance Co., Switzerland, Financials
Toyota Motor Corp., Japan , Consumer Discretionary
Unilever, United Kingdom, Consumer Staples
United Technologies Corp., United States Industrials
Vestas Wind Systems A/S, Denmark, Industrials
For more information on the Global 100, visit global100.org.