Most Sustainable Corporations of 2003 Listed

ZURICH, Switzerland, September 16, 2003 (ENS) - The latest annual table of the most sustainable large companies, globally and in Europe, has been released by index makers Dow Jones, Stoxx and Sam. The partners claim that over €2.2bn in funds and other "sustainability-driven" financial products are now influenced by the indexes.

The annual review will influence the investment decisions of 45 asset managers who have licensed the Dow Jones STOXX Sustainability Index (DJSI) family of indicators as objective benchmarks, DJSI said in a statement.

Dow Jones' World Sustainability Index was launched in 1999 and comprises over 300 firms, rated the most sustainable 10 percent of the world's largest 2,500 corporations.

Investors integrate economic, environmental and social criteria into their stock analysis and use sustainability as an indicator for innovative and future oriented management.

The European Sustainability Index first appeared in 2001 and is made up of 178 companies, rated the most sustainable 20 percent of the continent's 600 largest companies.

Alexander Barkawi, managing director of SAM Indexes, said, "With new DJSI based products in Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy and the Netherlands, investors now have an even wider choice of sustainability-driven portfolios managed against these benchmarks."


Alexander Barkawi, managing director of SAM Indexes, gives a presentation at oikos Koln, the International Student Organisation for Sustainable Economics and Management. (Photo courtesy oikos Koln, e.V.)
The selection of index components follows a rule based process defined in the DJSI Guidebooks. It is based on a thorough assessment of general and industry specific sustainability criteria. The analysis is verified by an external auditor.

DJSI defines corporate sustainability as a business approach to create long term shareholder value. Sustainability leaders embrace opportunities and manage risks which derive from economic, environmental and social developments, the index makers say.

The DJSI sustainability assessment covers economic, environmental and social criteria including consideration of climate change, scarcity of freshwater, agricultural production that does not undermine natural resources, effect of business practices on human health, and corporate accountability.

John Prestbo, editor, Dow Jones Indexes, said, “Since we launched the DJSI family in 1999, there has been a significant shift in market perception of sustainability investments. A growing number of private and institutional investors are adapting economic, environmental and social criteria to reflect the impact of sustainability issues on long-term shareholder value."


John Prestbo is markets editor for "The Wall Street Journal" and editor of Dow Jones indexes. (Photo courtesy Dow Jones University)
"As a result," Prestbo said, "we are now seeing this investment style stepping out of its niche and making its way into mainstream asset management and equity research. This is a very encouraging development for this market segment which we will continue to support with objective and professional benchmarks.”

In this year's world sustainability index, Toyota of Japan displaces Volkswagen of Germany as the leading - or most sustainable - firm in the automotive sector.

Ireland based CRH takes over from Lafarge of France as construction sector leader.

Philips Electronics replaces Teijin of Japan in cyclical goods, BP replaces Royal Dutch Shell in energy, and British Land replaces Lend Lease of Australia.

In the European index there are new sector leaders in seven out of 18 categories. In banking ABN Amro has displaced UBS, while DSM has replaced Degussa in chemicals.

Nokia has replaced Siemens in technology and Sainsbury has replaced Henkel in non-cyclical goods and services.

British Land has replaced Land Securities in financial services.

Firms newly added to the European index include Fortum of Finland, Aventis of France, Norsk Hydro of Norway, Holcim of Switzerland and Reckitt Benckiser of the UK.

Deletions include Agfa Gevaert of Belgium, Alstom of France, DaimlerChrysler of Germany, Unicredito Italiano of Italy, Heineken of the Netherlands, Ciba Speciality Chemicals of Switzerland and Smiths Industries of Britain.

"The annual review ensures that these offerings are based on an accurate and up-to-date reflection of best practice in corporate sustainability," Barkawi said. "The yearly assessment also gives companies an incentive for constant improvements to best-in-class sustainability performance.”


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