Introducing the 2021 Carbon Clean200: Investing in a Clean Energy Future

Carbon Clean 200 surges ahead, leaves dirty energy index in the dust

Corporate Knights and As You Sow have released the annual Clean200 list of publicly traded companies that are leading the way with solutions for the transition to a clean-energy future.

Since our first report was launched in the summer of 2016, a great deal has changed in the world.

Larry Fink, the CEO of the largest investment firm in the world, BlackRock, wrote in his 2021 letter to CEOs:

“Given how central the energy transition will be to every company’s growth prospects, we are asking companies to disclose a plan for how their business model will be compatible with a net zero economy – that is, one where global warming is limited to well below 2°C, consistent with a global aspiration of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”

Fink’s sentiment is playing out in real time. The negative impact of climate change across the entire economy, supply chains, capital markets and public health is now well charted, in particular the recent Harvard study showing that deaths related to fossil fuel pollution exceeded eight million in 2018 and are growing.

This year, riding Tesla’s soaring stock, Elon Musk passed Jeff Bezos to become the richest man on the planet, with a net worth of US$189.7 billion (as of January 8, 2021).

In carrying out his mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, Musk has become a prophet for clean capitalism, with Tesla now ranked as the most sustainable and valuable car company in the world. It is also now the pure-play company on the Clean200.

Musk is not alone. The Prince of Wales, the pope and, critically, a global movement catalyzed by Greta Thunberg have all turned up the heat on businesses to get real about cooling the planet.

Prince Charles has long championed the environment and the central role industry and finance must play in its protection, but he’s dialled up the urgency significantly in the past year. In the fall, he said climate change poses such a severe threat that the world’s only option is to adopt a military-style response reminiscent of the U.S. Marshall Plan that helped rebuild post-war Europe 70 years ago.

In January, the prince looked back more than 800 years to the Magna Carta (which inspired a belief in the fundamental rights of people) to issue a companion document – the Terra Carta, or Earth Charter – that aims to enshrine the rights and value of nature in capitalism, inviting the world’s CEOs to make a sustainable future the growth story of our time.

Pope Francis once described unbridled capitalism as the “dung of the devil.” In a sign of the times, he recently gave his blessing to the Council for Inclusive Capitalism, a partnership between the Vatican and the leaders of some of the world’s largest businesses, including the chiefs of BP and Bank of America.

This seemingly unholy alliance seeks to make capitalism a more holy instrument for answering the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.

There are now more than 300 companies, representing more than US$3.6 trillion in market cap, that have committed to a net-zero-emission target in line with a 1.5°C future.

Some worry these are empty words that give the impression that sufficient action is being taken – a sort of delay tactic. Thunberg, the teenage activist who kicked off a citizens’ climate movement, says, “We must forget about net-zero – we need real zero.”

She spells out what that means:

“Immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction. Immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies. And immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels. We don’t want these things done by 2050, 2030 or even [next year]. We want this done now.”

She’s right, but defunding carbon bombs will not be enough; not even close. The real action is going all in on funding climate solutions. What gets funded gets done. How we invest our trillions starting right now will determine our future.

To paraphrase Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti, the climate-solution revolution is today, not tomorrow. The litmus test for companies and countries (and anyone, really) is what percentage of your current budget is allocated with an intention to create a carbon-free sustainable world. If it’s less than 100%, you’ve got work to do.

The Clean200 companies are leading the way by putting sustainability at the heart of their products, services, business models and investments, helping to move the world onto a more sustainable trajectory.

This year’s Clean200 companies rose to the top of a pool of 8,080 global firms that earn more than $1 billion a year, based on rigorous assessment of the amount of revenue each company earns from products and services aligned with the Corporate Knights Clean Economy Taxonomy, while also ensuring that their businesses are not fundamentally offside important criteria for socially responsible investors, including substantial involvement in weapons, private prisons, thermal coal or having a record of systemically obstructing climate policy.

On average, 39% of revenues earned by Clean200 companies are classified as clean, which the majority of other revenues classified as neutral, compared to just 8% clean revenue for their peers.

But none of this would have legs if the Clean200 weren’t also faring well financially. On this score, the Clean200 handily outperformed its MSCI ACWI peers by 47% over the last year (to January 31, 2021) and by 34.74% since the Clean200 was launched in July 2016.

Clean200 companies generated a total return of 113.41%, beating the MSCI ACWI broad market index (78.67%) and MSCI ACWI/Energy Index of fossil fuel companies, (-13.83%) on Total Return Gross – USD Basis from the Clean200 inception of July 1, 2016, to January 31, 2021.

To put that in context: $10,000 invested in the Clean200 on July 1, 2016, would have grown to $21,340 by January 31, 2021, versus $17,867 for the MSCI ACWI broad market benchmark and $8,617 for the MSCI ACWI Energy benchmark for fossil fuel companies.

What is needed now is for the rest of the business world, most importantly the big-money investors who have been sitting on the sidelines, to also lean into this more civilized form of clean capitalism.

Now that BlackRock, the largest investor in the world, with a whopping US$8.7 trillion under management, has jumped the net-zero-emissions bandwagon, it is only a matter of time before it becomes the standard, placing a 100% sustainable and zero-carbon economy within our grasp.

The good news for our species is that the forces of pride and profit have shifted in favour of those on the right side of climate history, with shame and economic shambles awaiting those who cling to the wrong side.

With the sun shining on climate solutions, companies are free at last to shed their carbon cloaks.

With all this action, we hope that the Clean200 can do two things:

  1. provide a useful North Star for investors looking to pinpoint the companies leading the way to a clean-energy future.
  2. dispel the myth that clean investing is about sacrificing returns.

To make things easier, Corporate Knights and As You Sow are proud to present the latest edition of the Clean200.

While we’re not promising any home runs, we are happy to report that the Clean200 now has more than a four-year track record of outperforming its high-carbon global counterparts.

Clean200 vs. MSCI ACWI vs. ACWI Energy (Jul-01-2016 – Jan-31-2021, Total Return Gross – USD)

Clean 200 Companies by Country

The Clean200™ Methodology

The Clean200 are the largest 200 public companies ranked by clean economy revenue. It was first calculated on July 1, 2016, and publicly released on August 15, 2016, by Corporate Knights and As You Sow. The current list has been updated with data through the end of 2020 (December 31, 2020).

The Clean200 companies are listed by their estimated clean economy revenues in USD. The dataset is developed by multiplying a company’s most recent year-end revenues by its clean revenue estimate, primarily sourced from Corporate Knights Research. In order to be eligible, a company must have USD revenue of at least $1 billion (most recent available fiscal year-end data) and earn more than 10% of total revenues from clean sources.

The Clean200 uses negative screens. It excludes all oil and gas companies and utilities that generate less than 50% of their power from green sources, the top 100 coal companies measured by reserves, the top 100 oil and gas companies as measured by reserves, as well as all fossil fuel companies, majority fossil-fired utilities, pipeline- and oilfield-services companies, and other fossil-fuel-related companies screened on As You Sow’s Fossil Free Funds. In addition, the Clean200 excludes weapons companies, including major military arms manufacturers found on the SIPRI Top 100 arms-producing and military services list, as well as cluster munitions, nuclear weapons and civilian firearm manufacturers screened on As You Sow’s Weapon Free Funds. The Clean200 also excludes palm oil, paper/pulp, rubber, timber, beef and soy producers that are screened on As You Sow’s Deforestation Free Funds, companies using child or forced labour, and companies that engage in negative climate lobbying. The full list of exclusionary screens is provided below.


RankCompany NameCountryGICS Sector
1Alphabet IncUnited States of AmericaCommunication Services
2Siemens AGGermanyIndustrials
3TSMCTaiwanInformation Technology
4SAP SEGermanyInformation Technology
5Iberdrola SASpainUtilities
6HP IncUnited States of AmericaInformation Technology
7Cisco Systems IncUnited States of AmericaInformation Technology
8Schneider Electric SEFranceIndustrials
9Tesla IncUnited States of AmericaConsumer Discretionary
10Unilever PLCUnited KingdomConsumer Staples
11Intel CorpUnited States of AmericaInformation Technology
12Vestas Wind Systems A/SDenmarkIndustrials
13LG Electronics IncKorea; Republic (S. Korea)Consumer Discretionary
15Abb LtdSwitzerlandIndustrials
16Micron Technology IncUnited States of AmericaInformation Technology
17Sanofi SAFranceHealth Care
18Lenovo Group LtdChinaInformation Technology
19Valeo SAFranceConsumer Discretionary
20L'Air Liquide Societe Anonyme pour l'Etude et l'Exploitation des Procedes Georges Claude SAFranceMaterials
21EDP Energias de Portugal SAPortugalUtilities
22Panasonic CorpJapanConsumer Discretionary
23Hewlett Packard Enterprise CoUnited States of AmericaInformation Technology
24Compagnie de Saint Gobain SAFranceIndustrials
25Kering SAFranceConsumer Discretionary
26Suez SAFranceUtilities
27Johnson Controls International PLCIreland; Republic ofIndustrials
28Daikin Industries LtdJapanIndustrials
29CPFL Energia SABrazilUtilities
30Hitachi LtdJapanInformation Technology
31Accenture PLCIreland; Republic ofInformation Technology
32Banco do Brasil SABrazilFinancials
33BNP Paribas SAFranceFinancials
34Byd Co LtdChinaConsumer Discretionary
35Canadian National Railway CoCanadaIndustrials
36Enel Americas SAChileUtilities
37Telefonaktiebolaget LM EricssonSwedenInformation Technology
38Samsung SDI Co LtdKorea; Republic (S. Korea)Information Technology
39Alstom SAFranceIndustrials
40Kimberly-Clark CorpUnited States of AmericaConsumer Staples
41Ecolab IncUnited States of AmericaMaterials
42Ricoh Co LtdJapanInformation Technology
43LafargeHolcim LtdSwitzerlandMaterials
44Prysmian SpAItalyIndustrials
45BT Group PLCUnited KingdomCommunication Services
46Adidas AGGermanyConsumer Discretionary
47Industria de Diseno Textil SASpainConsumer Discretionary
48Deere & CoUnited States of AmericaIndustrials
49Kone OyjFinlandIndustrials
50Essity AB (publ)SwedenConsumer Staples
51Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SASpainIndustrials
52Aisin Seiki Co LtdJapanConsumer Discretionary
53Adobe IncUnited States of AmericaInformation Technology
54Konica Minolta IncJapanInformation Technology
55Henkel AG & Co KgaAGermanyConsumer Staples
56Orsted A/SDenmarkUtilities
57Xerox Holdings CorpUnited States of AmericaInformation Technology
583M CoUnited States of AmericaIndustrials
59Sumitomo Electric Industries LtdJapanConsumer Discretionary
60Smurfit Kappa Group PLCIreland; Republic ofMaterials
61Acciona SASpainUtilities
62Canadian Pacific Railway LtdCanadaIndustrials
63Nike IncUnited States of AmericaConsumer Discretionary
64Contemporary Amperex Technology Co LtdChinaIndustrials
65Verbund AGAustriaUtilities
66Dassault Systemes SEFranceInformation Technology
67Keppel Corporation LtdSingaporeIndustrials
68Sekisui House LtdJapanConsumer Discretionary
69Asustek Computer IncTaiwanInformation Technology
70Cummins IncUnited States of AmericaIndustrials
71Arcelik ASTurkeyConsumer Discretionary
72Emerson Electric CoUnited States of AmericaIndustrials
73Owens CorningUnited States of AmericaIndustrials
74Signify NVNetherlandsIndustrials
75Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co LtdChinaIndustrials
76Danaher CorpUnited States of AmericaHealth Care
77United Natural Foods IncUnited States of AmericaConsumer Staples
78Asahi Kasei CorpJapanMaterials
79Avangrid IncUnited States of AmericaUtilities
80Bombardier IncCanadaIndustrials
81Koninklijke DSM NVNetherlandsMaterials
82Natura & Co Holding SABrazilConsumer Staples
83Nokia OyjFinlandInformation Technology
84Skanska ABSwedenIndustrials
85Trane Technologies PLCIreland; Republic ofIndustrials
86Cascades IncCanadaMaterials
87LONGi Green Energy Technology Co LtdChinaInformation Technology
88Iren SpAItalyUtilities
89CSX CorpUnited States of AmericaIndustrials
90Engie Brasil Energia SABrazilUtilities
91Umicore SABelgiumMaterials
92American Water Works Company IncUnited States of AmericaUtilities
93JinkoSolar Holding Co LtdChinaInformation Technology
94Osram Licht AGGermanyIndustrials
95VMware IncUnited States of AmericaInformation Technology
96Takeda Pharmaceutical Co LtdJapanHealth Care
97Sims LtdUnited States of AmericaMaterials
98Kingspan Group PLCIreland; Republic ofIndustrials
99Brambles LtdAustraliaIndustrials
100Shimizu CorpJapanIndustrials
101LG Chem LtdSouth KoreaMaterials
102China Longyuan Power Group Corp LtdChinaUtilities
103Sekisui Chemical Co LtdJapanConsumer Discretionary
104Biomerieux SAFranceHealth Care
105Canadian Solar IncCanadaInformation Technology
106Legrand SAFranceIndustrials
107Workday IncUnited States of AmericaInformation Technology
108Waste Management IncUnited States of AmericaIndustrials
109China Everbright Environment Group LtdHong KongIndustrials
110Autodesk IncUnited States of AmericaInformation Technology
111Murata Manufacturing Co LtdJapanInformation Technology
112Akzo Nobel NVNetherlandsMaterials
113West Japan Railway CoJapanIndustrials
114City Developments LtdSingaporeReal Estate
115Aptiv PLCIreland; Republic ofConsumer Discretionary
116Electrolux ABSwedenConsumer Discretionary
117Federal Hydro-Generating Company RusHydro PAORussiaUtilities
118Koninklijke Philips NVNetherlandsHealth Care
119Analog Devices IncUnited States of AmericaInformation Technology
120McCormick & Company IncUnited States of AmericaConsumer Staples
121Wartsila Oyj AbpFinlandIndustrials
122Parker-Hannifin CorpUnited States of AmericaIndustrials
123Keyence CorpJapanInformation Technology
124Air Products and Chemicals IncUnited States of AmericaMaterials
125Aalberts NVNetherlandsIndustrials
126SMC CorpJapanIndustrials
127Spie SAFranceIndustrials
128Fanuc CorpJapanIndustrials
129Stanley Black & Decker IncUnited States of AmericaIndustrials
130Andritz AGAustriaIndustrials
131Tianneng Power International LtdChinaConsumer Discretionary
132Nordex SEGermanyIndustrials
133Atlas Copco ABSwedenIndustrials
134Rexel SAFranceIndustrials
135Lite-On Technology CorpTaiwanInformation Technology
136Tech Mahindra LtdIndiaInformation Technology
137Sino-American Silicon Products IncTaiwanInformation Technology
138FirstGroup PLCUnited KingdomIndustrials
139GCL-Poly Energy Holdings LtdHong KongInformation Technology
140MLS Co LtdChinaInformation Technology
141Eisai Co LtdJapanHealth Care
142Kao CorpJapanConsumer Staples
143Doosan Co LtdSouth KoreaIndustrials
144Solvay SABelgiumMaterials
145Eaton Corporation PLCUnited States of AmericaIndustrials
146Capitaland LtdSingaporeReal Estate
147CIMIC Group LtdAustraliaIndustrials
148Steel Dynamics IncUnited States of AmericaMaterials
149Norsk Hydro ASANorwayMaterials
150Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor LtdChinaInformation Technology
151Amcor PLCUnited KingdomMaterials
152China Railway Signal & Communication Corp LtdChinaInformation Technology
153Nexans SAFranceIndustrials
154AB SKFSwedenIndustrials
155Swire Pacific LtdHong KongReal Estate
156LG Innotek Co LtdKorea; Republic (S. Korea)Information Technology
157NARI Technology Co LtdChinaIndustrials
158Delta Electronics IncTaiwanInformation Technology
159Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co LtdKorea; Republic (S. Korea)Information Technology
160Acuity Brands IncUnited States of AmericaIndustrials
161Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co LtdSouth KoreaIndustrials
162eBay IncUnited States of AmericaConsumer Discretionary
163Wacker Chemie AGGermanyMaterials
164Zhejiang Chint Electrics Co LtdChinaIndustrials
165MTR Corp LtdHong KongIndustrials
166New World Development Co LtdHong KongReal Estate
167Telus CorpCanadaCommunication Services
168Georg Fischer AGSwitzerlandIndustrials
169ASML Holding NVNetherlandsInformation Technology
170DSV Panalpina A/SDenmarkIndustrials
171Risen Energy Co LtdChinaInformation Technology
172Kansas City SouthernUnited States of AmericaIndustrials
173Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies CorpUnited States of AmericaIndustrials
174NSK LtdJapanIndustrials
175Hydro One LtdCanadaUtilities
176Companhia de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo SABESPBrazilUtilities
177Air Water IncJapanMaterials
178Keikyu CorpJapanIndustrials
179Sungrow Power Supply Co LtdChinaIndustrials
180Shin-Etsu Chemical Co LtdJapanMaterials
181Applied Materials IncUnited States of AmericaInformation Technology
182Nidec CorpJapanIndustrials
183NVIDIA CorpUnited States of AmericaInformation Technology
184STMicroelectronics NVSwitzerlandInformation Technology
185Fortive CorpUnited States of AmericaIndustrials
186Nitto Denko CorpJapanMaterials
187Nibe Industrier ABSwedenIndustrials
188Evoqua Water Technologies CorpUnited States of AmericaIndustrials
189Dover CorpUnited States of AmericaIndustrials
190GEA Group AGGermanyIndustrials
191Sika AGSwitzerlandMaterials
192Suzhou Dongshan Precision Manufacturing Co LtdChinaInformation Technology
193Guodian Technology & Environment Group Corp LtdCHINAIndustrials
194Brookfield Renewable Partners LPCanadaPower Generation
195Schnitzer Steel Industries IncUnited States of AmericaConstruction Materials
196Kyocera CorpJapanElectronic Products
197First Solar IncUnited States of AmericaElectronic Products
198Middleby CorpUnited States of AmericaIndustrial Machinery Manufacturing
199Chr Hansen Holding A/SDenmarkPharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
200Novozymes A/SDenmarkPharmaceuticals and Biotechnology



TOBY HEAPS is the chief executive officer and co-founder of Corporate Knights. He spearheaded the first global ranking of the world’s 100 most sustainable corporations in 2005 and in 2007 coined the term “clean capitalism.” He sits on the Ashoka Canada Board and the University of Toronto’s Environment and Finance Committee. Toby has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail. In 1998, he played centre field for the Yugoslav National Baseball Team.

ANDREW BEHAR is the CEO of As You Sow. Previously, Andrew founded a cleantech start-up developing innovative fuel-cell technologies for grid-scale energy storage. He recently termed off the board of the US Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US-SIF), he is on the advisory boards of Real Impact Tracker and 1-Earth Institute. His book, The Shareholder Action Guide: Unleash Your Hidden Powers to Hold Corporations Accountable, was published in November 2016 by Berrett-Koehler.

ABOUT CORPORATE KNIGHTS: Founded in 2002, Corporate Knights seeks to provide information that empowers people to harness markets for a better world. The company has a media and research division, which includes the award-winning business and society magazine Corporate Knights. The research division produces corporate rankings, research reports and financial product ratings based on corporate sustainability performance. In June 2013, Corporate Knights was named Magazine of the Year by Canada’s National Magazine Awards Foundation.

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ABOUT AS YOU SOW®: Founded in 1992, As You Sow promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building and innovative legal strategies. Our efforts create large-scale systemic change by establishing sustainable and equitable corporate practices. As You Sow was founded on the belief that many environmental and human rights issues can be resolved by increased corporate responsibility. As investor representatives, we communicate directly with corporate executives to collaboratively develop and implement business models that reduce risk, benefit brand reputation and protect long-term shareholder value while simultaneously bringing about positive change for the environment and human rights.

Sponsors: This report was made possible by the generous support of (alphabetically): Argosy Foundation, Arkay Foundation, Arntz Family Foundation, Firedoll Foundation, Amanda Hanley Foundation, Manaaki Foundation, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, The Roddenberry Foundation, Singing Field Foundation and the Thornton Foundation.

Acknowledgements: The 2021 Clean200 report was made possible by the contributions of (alphabetically): Greg Barbosa, Jill Courtenay, Danielle Fugere, Erin Gardhouse, Alison Kendrick, Jess Marie Larrain, Andrew Montes, Jenna Murphy, John Opet, Sanket Sharma, Wendy Shen-Juarez, Stefanie Spear, Chris St. Prince, Adria Vasil and Laura Väyrynen.

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