In November 2012, a range of new indices were launched to assess the performance of large companies in terms of environmental responsibility, social responsibility and governance (ESG). Behind these indices are two entities: NYSE Euronext, the world’s largest global operator of financial markets, and Vigeo, the leading European expert in the assessment of companies and organisations with regard to their practices and performance on ESG issues. Together, they have created four indices: Euronext Vigeo World 120, which ranks the 120 most advanced companies globally; Euronext Vigeo Europe 120, which ranks the 120 most advanced companies at European level; Euronext Vigeo France 20 and Euronext Vigeo United Kingdom 20, which rank the 20 most advanced companies in France and in the United Kingdom respectively. Their aim is to promote and support responsible investment, by identifying the most virtuous companies to invest in, those able
to create value in the long term and to manage associated risks.
An inclusive, global assessment
The indices are updated every six months: the very first rankings were published in November 2012, and have just been updated (as at 1 June 2013). Back in November, Danone was included in the three indices it was eligible for – World 120, Europe 120 and France 20. These results have been confirmed by the latest edition of all three indices, once more highlighting the group’s performance on sustainability issues (socially, environmentally and governance-wise). The Euronext Vigeo indices actually assess a company’s abilities in 6 key domains: environment, business behaviour, corporate governance, human rights, human resources and community involvement. This makes it a truly comprehensive tool, as NYSE Euronext and Vigeo explain: they designed it as
an inclusive and universal approach covering all corporate responsibility areas while crossing both national and sector borders.
The methodology itself proves this, as the companies rated have been chosen from a pool of Groups belonging to the world 2000 biggest capitalisations.
While it is important for groups like Danone to be recognised in this additional international sustainability & responsibility index, NYSE Euronext and Vigeo rightfully highlight that “the scores considered for inclusion in the indices are relative and even the most advanced companies have potential for progress.” These results sound less like an achievement than an encouragement to pursue the dual economic and social path that Danone set itself on 40 years ago.
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