EUROPE - UK companies outperform their continental European competitors on social responsibility, a new study shows.
GES Investment Services’ analysis of Europe’s 300 largest companies found that British firms excelled in environmental, human rights and corporate governance performance.
The study found that while 26% of Europe’s largest companies are from the UK, they account for 40% of the 100 companies rated best on sustainability.
UK companies topped the list in five sectors - BP in energy, Tesco in retail, Barclays in finance, BT in telecommunications and Severn Trent inutilities.
The survey showed that Nordic companies were also performing well. These included Nokia in the IT sector, Stora Enso in materials and ABB in industry.
At the other end of the scale, the survey showed that the largest companies from Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain were ‘lagging behind’, especially in reporting of environmental and human rights performance.
GES managing director Erik Alhoj said the study - carried out for the basis of equity selection for a Danish SRI fund - found British companies to be ‘outstanding’.
He said: “It is not just a matter of complying with the most important conventions and other recognised guidelines.
“The most sustainable companies within all sectors have established strong management aimed at customer and employee satisfaction, systematic control of sub-contractors, transparency on executive compensation and a healthy working environment.”
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