Volkswagen, Panasonic stand out on Dow Jones Sustainability Index

Volkswagen, Panasonic stand out on Dow Jones Sustainability Index

VW image by GTS Production via Shutterstock.com.

Volkswagen, Siemens and Panasonic lead their industries on this year's Dow Jones Sustainability Index, which, since 1999, has tracked companies worldwide.

Each year, research firm RobecoSAM asks 2500 of the world's largest public companies to report on their sustainability performance, covering governance, social and environmental criteria. (In a recent GreenBiz Intelligence Panel survey, 45 percent of respondents named DJSI as a top sustainability framework in terms of credibility and importance.)

The analysis, which focuses on long-term shareholder value, results in "best of class" leaders -- companies that lead their respective industries.

Some 2013 industry leaders:

Volkswagen: Automobiles & components

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group: Banks

Siemens: Capital goods

Panasonic: Consumer durables

Citigroup: Diversified financial services

Henkel: Household & personal products

Air France-KLM: Transportation

EDP - Energias de Portugal: Utilities

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group, Siemens AG and Air France-KLM also led their sectors last year.

Among the 39 companies added to the list this year are United Parcel Service (UPS) and a questionable one, from our point of view: Bank of America, which still finances coal.

Among the 47 companies deleted for poor performance when compared to their peers are Johnson & Johnson, HSBC and Bayer, which is currently fighting bans on pesticides that are killing bees and is one of the biggest air polluters in the U.S.

Among the many factors analyzed are climate strategy, stakeholder engagement, product stewardship, operational eco-efficiency and financial stability.

The indices were the first in the world to provide investors with a benchmark to help them back sustainability leaders. Earlier this year, Dow Jones launched the Sustainability Emerging Markets Index, which is called the first to measure the sustainability performance of firms in emerging markets. Dow Jones launched the index in North America in 2005.

Here are the full results (PDF) for 2013. 

VW image by GTS Production via Shutterstock.com.

The original version of this article appeared at Sustainable Business News.