Corporate Knights, a Canadian investment research company, named on Thursday Australian bank Westpac as the world's most sustainable company. The recognition was given at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Westpac is Australia's second largest home lender and deposit holder. It beat 99 other global companies for the top spot, including other Australian giants such as ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Coles, Wesfarmers and Stockland.
Also topped by Westpac are huge foreign conglomerates like Japanese vehicle manufacturer Nissan, German sportswear maker Adidas, Korean electronics giant Samsung, American beverage maker Coca-Cola and confectionary producer Nestle.
It is the 10th year that Corporate Knights has been recognising sustainable firms by drawing up the yearly list of the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World. It uses 12 indicators such as amount of revenues the company generates per unit of energy consumption, ratio of CEO to average worker pay and lost time injury rate.
Doug Morrow, managing director of Corporate Knights, explained, "We unpackage 'sustainability' into its component parts and build the index from the ground up using clearly defined ratios and performance indicators."
For next year's award, the index would be computed by Solactive, a German index provider.
Runners-up to Westpac were U.S.-based biotech company Biogen Idec, Finnish mining technology and capital goods firm Outotec Oy, Norwegian oil firm Statoil and French 3D design software specialist Dassault Systemes.
Eighteen of the 100 companies in the list were American firms, 13 were Canadian and 8 each were British and French.
Westpac is considered one of the Big 4 banks in Australia with yearly revenues of $38 billion and more than 36,000 workers.
Upon receiving the award, Westpac Chief Executive Gail Kelly said, "I am delighted that Westpac's sustainability performance has been rated so highly on the global stage. It is wonderful recognition of the work of our people to help create a sustainable future and deliver long-term value for our customers, employees, shareholders and the community."