2022 Global 100 Press Release

Evolving ESG Expectations Shape World’s Most Sustainable Corporations Ranking for 2022

carbon pricing

Media Release

Toronto, Canada, January 19, 2022 – Corporate Knights’ 18th annual ranking of the world’s 100 most sustainable corporations shows a continued correlation between higher investor returns and strong performance on key environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics. It also sheds light on the evolution of ESG priorities and outcomes, and on the extent of the gap between leading sustainability performers and their global corporate peers.

The ranking is based on a rigorous assessment of 6,914 companies with more than US$1 billion in revenues, out of which Vestas Wind Systems of Denmark emerged as the world’s most sustainable corporation. 

Vestas has evolved from hydraulic crane production into the largest of all wind turbine manufacturers, responsible for nearly one-fifth of global installed wind power capacity. In December it began work on a North Sea turbine that will be Europe’s most powerful and Scotland’s largest renewable energy project. The company’s current focus is on lowering the carbon footprint associated with its turbines.

“Through our solutions, Vestas supports the global energy system with avoiding millions of tonnes of carbon emissions every year,” says CEO Henrik Andersen. “To build a truly sustainable future, however, we must do more,” he adds.

According to analysis by S&P Capital IQ, the Corporate Knights Global 100 Index is the best performing global sustainability equity index since its inception in 2005and is also ahead of its blue-chip benchmark.  A dollar invested in an index composed of Global 100 companies on February 1, 2005, would have generated a return nearly one-fifth larger than the same investment in the MSCI All Country World Index, or ACWI (total return of 331% compared to 279%), with the performance gap widening in favour of the Global 100 markedly after the onset of COVID as large green recovery programs were adopted.  

The 2022 Global 100 companies derive 47% of their earnings from products or services categorized as “clean” under the Corporate Knights Clean Taxonomy, and they direct 48% of their capital expenditures, R&D and acquisitions to clean investments. 

Compared to the average ACWI firm, Global 100 members generate more than four times as much revenue per tonne of carbon emitted and almost eight times more output per unit of energy consumed.

“Strong performance on these metrics is foundational to achieving a clean and carbon-neutral economy in the necessary time frame,” says Corporate Knights CEO Toby Heaps, “and the sustained momentum is encouraging.”

While Global 100 companies made progress boosting their share of clean revenues and investments, non-male representation among directors stalled this year at 32%. And there was middling performance on percent of taxes paid, with cash taxes paid being 13% of profit ratio over the past five years, in contrast to average global statutory rates that are double that. This suggests that room remains for leading performers to emerge on some of these more recent ESG focal points.

Other noteworthy findings and outcomes of this year’s analysis:

  • Circularity is a heightened focal point for many Global 100 companies, such as newly ranked Schnitzer Steel Industries of the United States, which specializes in steel and auto recycling.
  • 65 of the Global 100 companies have signed up to the Science Based Targets initiative, aligning their emissions reductions with the requirements of the Paris Agreement, up from 60 in 2021. 
  • Some companies dropped off the Global 100 in light of performance that no longer aligns with stricter criteria for what qualifies as “clean.” For example, cars must be fully electric now to qualify, whereas in prior years, hybrids were counted as clean. This had a negative impact on Valeo SA of France, whose products largely go into hybrid rather than battery electric vehicles.
  • Some high-profile brands were excluded because of specific red-flagged activities. This includes climate-policy blocking on the part of Ford Motor Company, Daimler AG, Chevron and Air France, based on research from the non-profit Influence Map. 
  • Sectoral representation is dominated by various tech segments, including telecoms, chipmakers, computer makers and business service providers, while 10 banks make up the largest single sector.
  • The U.S. has the largest number of Global 100 companies at 23, with Canada punching above its weight with 13. Another three come from South America, 41 from Europe/U.K., and 20 from the Asia-Pacific Region.

Normally announced at an event concurrent with the World Economic Forum in Davos, this year’s Global 100 launch includes a leaders’ roundtable discussion held virtually, focusing on the imperative for businesses and governments to close the “say–do” gap on climate. This event takes place today from 4 to 5pm Central European Time with opening remarks from Johan Rockström, a Swedish professor and joint director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and the involvement of:

  • Henrik Andersen, CEO, Vestas Wind Systems A/S
  • Jean-Pascal Tricoire, CEO, Schneider Electric SE
  • Mads Nipper, CEO, Ørsted A/S
  • Esther An, Chief Sustainability Officer, City Developments Limited
  • Hakan Bulgurlu, CEO, Arçelik AS
  • Lawrence Kurzius, CEO, McCormick & Company Inc. 
  • Roberto Guidetti, CEO, Vitasoy International Holdings Ltd.

Free registration is available at https://tinyurl.com/G1002022

A digital version of the ranking, select national scorecards, and further contextual and methodological information is available at corporateknights.com/global100.


What is the Global 100? Corporate Knights’ ranking of the world’s 100 most sustainable corporations is based on a rigorous assessment of nearly 7,000 public companies with revenue over US$1 billion. The Corporate Knights Global 100 methodology strives to measure what matters and our methodology is transparent and verifiable. We’ve been conducting rigorous research on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors for two decades. Our ESG indicators are radically transparent, enabling a clear understanding of our ratings.

Our analysis illuminates the “say–do” gap. Thousands of companies have made net-zero commitments, but only a small percentage have credible, science-based plans to decarbonize their operations and supply chains. By researching companies’ capital expenditures, income earned from clearly defined sustainable activities, research and development/implementation of innovative low-carbon technologies, and mergers and acquisitions, we’re able to determine if they are aligning their money with their public relations. Only those companies making sustainable solutions a core part of their business offerings and allocating meaningful investments to reduce their carbon footprints make the grade.

The Global 100 is the top-performing global sustainability index. The index has consistently outperformed the MSCI ACWI since its inception, and the gap has widened significantly since we’ve allocated 50% of our grade to how companies make and invest their money, with particular emphasis on those closing the say–do gap on decarbonization. Our methodology measures what matters:  sustainability. 

Global 100 Methodology: All companies are scored on applicable metrics relative to their peers, with 50% of the weight assigned to Clean Revenue and Clean Investment. Nine of the indicators have fixed weights; the rest are assigned weights according to each industry’s relative and total impact in relation to the overall economy. After quantitatively analyzing data for 23 key performance indicators, this year’s overall scores were converted to letter grades.

About Corporate Knights: Corporate Knights Inc. includes the sustainable-business magazine Corporate Knights and a research division that produces rankings and financial product ratings based on corporate sustainability performance. 

Contact information:

Toby Heaps, CEO, Corporate Knights

Phone: +1 (416) 274.1432 Email: toby@corporateknights.com


Appendix I: Net returns of the MSCI ACWI and the Corporate Knights Global 100 Index in USD as calculated respectively by Solactive and S&P Capital IQ (from February 1, 2005, to December 31, 2021). 

Appendix II: 2022 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World

2022 G100 Rank2021 G100 RankCompanyCountryClimate commitmentsOverall Score
121Vestas Wind Systems A/SDenmark 1.5°C, SBTiA+
224Chr Hansen Holding A/SDenmark 1.5°C, SBTiA
343Autodesk IncUnited States of America SBTiA
41Schneider Electric SEFrance 1.5°C, SBTiA
540City Developments LtdSingapore 1.5°C, SBTiA
69American Water Works Company IncUnited States of America A
72Orsted A/SDenmark 1.5°C, SBTiA-
812Atlantica Sustainable Infrastructure PLCUnited Kingdom SBTiA-
955Dassault Systemes SEFrance 1.5°C, SBTiA-
1018Brambles LtdAustralia 1.5°C, SBTiA-
1157Sims LtdAustralia A-
1238Johnson Controls International PLCIreland 1.5°C, SBTiB+
12*7Kering SAFrance SBTi, FCCAB+
1393Koninklijke KPN NVNetherlands 1.5°C, SBTiB+
146McCormick & Company IncUnited States of America SBTiB+
15Schnitzer Steel Industries IncUnited States of America B+
1645Transcontinental IncCanada B+
175Stantec IncCanada 1.5°C, SBTiB+
1817Cascades IncCanada SBTiB+
19Evoqua Water Technologies CorpUnited States of America SBTiB+
20Beijing Enterprises Water Group LtdHong Kong B+
213Banco do Brasil SABrazil 1.5°C, SBTiB+
2251Sekisui Chemical Co LtdJapan 1.5°C, SBTiB+
23Engie Brasil Energia SABrazil B+
244Neste OyjFinland B+
2519Iberdrola SASpain 1.5°C, SBTiB+
2670Xerox Holdings CorpUnited States of America SBTiB
27Salesforce.Com IncUnited States of America 1.5°C, SBTiB
2813Cisco Systems IncUnited States of America 1.5°C, SBTiB
2939Alstom SAFrance SBTiB
31†Legrand SAFrance 1.5°C, SBTiB
3216Eisai Co LtdJapan 1.5°C, SBTiB
33Ecolab IncUnited States of America 1.5°C, SBTiB
34Canadian Pacific Railway LtdCanada SBTiB
3536Novozymes A/SDenmark 1.5°C, SBTiB
3690Alphabet IncUnited States of America B-
3727Verbund AGAustria B-
3895Workday IncUnited States of America 1.5°C, SBTiB-
39SunPower CorpUnited States of America B-
408Metso Outotec CorpFinland SBTiB-
4129IGM Financial IncCanada NZAMB-
42Xinyi Solar Holdings LtdChina B-
43Sprouts Farmers Market IncUnited States of America B-
4420TSMCTaiwan B-
4562Vitasoy International Holdings LtdHong Kong B-
4660Samsung SDI Co LtdSouth Korea B-
47LONGi Green Energy Technology Co LtdChina 1.5°C, SBTiB-
48Apple IncUnited States of America 1.5°C, SBTiB-
4954Telus CorpCanada 1.5°C, SBTiB-
5050HP IncUnited States of America 1.5°C, SBTiB-
51Atea ASANorway SBTiB-
5297Tesla IncUnited States of America 1.5°C, SBTiB-
5341Konica Minolta IncJapan SBTiB-
5430Hewlett Packard Enterprise CoUnited States of America 1.5°C, SBTiC+
5584SAP SEGermany 1.5°C, SBTiC+
55*14Storebrand ASANorway 1.5°C, SBTi, NZAM, NZAOC+
55*69Sun Life Financial IncCanada NZAMC+
56Koninklijke Philips NVNetherlands 1.5°C, SBTiC+
5734Arcelik ASTurkey 1.5°C, SBTiC+
58Citrix Systems IncUnited States of America SBTiC+
59UniCredit SpAItaly NZBAC+
6067Commerzbank AGGermany SBTi, NZAM, NZBAC+
6137ING Groep NVNetherlands NZAMC+
62Quadient SAFrance C+
6388Henkel AG & Co KgaAGermany 1.5°C, SBTi, NZAMC+
6459Intel CorpUnited States of America C+
66†77Prologis IncUnited States of America SBTiC+
6765Sanofi SAFrance 1.5°C, SBTiC+
6874Analog Devices IncUnited States of America 1.5°C, SBTiC+
6987Kesko OyjFinland 1.5°C, SBTiC+
7086Nordea Bank AbpFinland NZAM, NZAO, NZBAC+
7144National Australia Bank LtdAustralia C+
7280StarHub LtdSingapore C+
7392Industria de Diseno Textil SASpain SBTi, FCCAC+
7491Teck Resources LtdCanada C
7558CapitaLand Investment LtdSingapore SBTiC
7646BNP Paribas SAFrance SBTi, NZAM, NZAO, NZBAC
77Puma SEGermany SBTi, FCCAC
7879Unilever PLCUnited Kingdom 1.5°C, SBTiC
79Gildan Activewear IncCanada C
8047Bank of MontrealCanada NZAM, NZAOC
8168Cogeco Communications IncCanada 1.5°C, SBTiC
8276Adidas AGGermany SBTi, FCCAC
83Coloplast A/SDenmark 1.5°C, SBTiC
8435BT Group PLCUnited Kingdom 1.5°C, SBTiC-
86†73Agnico Eagle Mines LtdCanada C-
8778Lenovo Group LtdChinaSBTiC-
8842Natura & Co Holding SABrazil 1.5°C, SBTiC-
89Campbell Soup CoUnited States of America SBTiC-
9056Intesa Sanpaolo SpAItaly NZAM, NZAO, NZBAC-
9182AstraZeneca PLCUnited Kingdom 1.5°C, SBTiC-
92KBC Groep NVBelgium C-
9349Allianz SEGermany SBTi, NZAM, NZAOC-
94Aster DM Healthcare LtdIndia D+
9589Telefonaktiebolaget LM EricssonSweden 1.5°C, SBTiD+
9675Pearson PLCUnited Kingdom 1.5°C, SBTiD+
97Biogen IncUnited States of America 1.5°C, SBTiD+
9899Canadian Tire Corporation LtdCanada D
99LG Electronics IncSouth Korea 1.5°C, SBTiD
10094Byd Co LtdChina D-

* Tie
† Rank 30 and 85 updated due to data correction

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