Alberta energy companies shine in sustainability ranking1/23/2013
OTTAWA – Some prominent Alberta energy companies are among 10 major Canadian businesses that were selected in a new ranking of the planet’s 100 most sustainable publicly-traded corporations by business publication, Corporate Knights.
The annual list, released Wednesday in Switzerland by the Toronto-based media and investment research company, includes several oil and gas corporations that operate in Canada, including Nexen (71st place), Suncor (81st place), and Cenovus (88th place), as well as foreign-based energy companies with Canadian interests such as Statoil and Royal Dutch Shell.
“There’s been a broad commitment to responsible development of oil and gas here at Nexen that goes back a decade or more,” said Jeff Flood, general manager of social responsibility at Nexen, which made the list for a fourth year.
“It’s easy for any company to make public claims about their commitment to sustainability… The average person can take this as an independent and third-party (assessment) beyond the window-dressing of sustainability.”
Teck Resources Ltd, a Vancouver-based company with interests in mining and materials, is the top Canadian company on the list in 21st position.
“This ranking recognizes the progress we’ve made, but we know there is more work to be done,” said spokesman Chris Stannell, in an email.
Umicore SA – a Belgium-based materials company – was on top of the list overall, followed by Brazil-based Natura Cosmeticos – a consumer staples company – and Statoil – the Norwegian-based oil and gas company that has Canadian interests in the oilsands.
Other Canadian companies on the list included Barrick Gold Corporation (40th place), the Canadian National Railway Company (57th place), Telus Corp (60th place), Sun Life Financial (85th place), the Royal Bank of Canada (87th place), as well as pipeline company Enbridge (79th place), which was slapped by millions of dollars in fines by North American regulators over the past two years because of an oil spill in Michigan and a gas explosion near Toronto.
Toby Heaps, the CEO of Corporate Knights, said the survey evaluated whether the publicly-traded companies are doing a good job at charting a path toward sustainability, but should not be used to indicate that the listed companies have succeeded in achieving a sustainable path.
“I wouldn’t want to pretend that there’s no possibility that this ranking can’t be used for greenwashing purposes in some respect,” Heaps said in an interview.
But he said companies are engaging with him on the survey to provide more information and respond to issues from the ranking.
He also noted that two-thirds of the companies on the list this year were on track to double their productivity in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, water, and waste by 2025.
National science academies from the largest countries in the world have all agreed that humans must dramatically scale back land-use changes, deforestation and consumption of fossil fuels such as oil and gas, to slow down heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions from warming the atmosphere and causing irreversible damage to the planet’s ecosystems.
In the case of Enbridge, Heaps said recent fines were taken into account, but that the pipeline company was measured against performance of other businesses in the same category.
Enbridge was not immediately able to return messages from Postmedia News seeking comment.
Corporate Knights said it compiled the list using data from Bloomberg followed by more detailed communication and exchanges with the 350 companies on a short-list that were selected based on a number of factors including their size and market share.
(Post Media News)