Canada’s Best Corporate Citizens

It’s that time of the year again – sustainability ranking season in Canada – when companies are ranked according to their CSR performance. Earlier this month Corporate Knights published its Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada, and Sustainalytics (in partnership with Maclean’s) the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada. Both rankings provide the public an opportunity to learn about environmental and social performance of Canadian companies. Not all companies are created equal and in a world with sophisticated marketing, rankings can be helpful in deciphering fact from fiction.

Corporate Knights is a media and financial information products company. In its 11th year, the Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada list is a gauge for CSR performance over the past decade. The following is a closer look at this year’s list of Canada’s best according to Corporate Knights.

Performance Trends
According to this year’s ranking, the percentage of females on boards of directors improved from 17% in 2010 to 20% in 2011. There has also been year over year improvements in Energy and Carbon Productivity for the Telecommunications sector, while Water and Waste Productivity have been declining for Industrials. [1] Disclosure of voluntary ESG indicators such as Energy, GHGs, Water, Waste and Injuries) has decreased from 2010. However, according to Corporate Knights information, the Materials sector remains the best discloser of resource metrics. [2]

The financial sector is well represented with four companies in the top ten, three in Banks and one in the Diversified Financials industry. The Materials industry group has the largest presence in this year’s Best 50 with 13 companies listed, followed by ten from the Energy industry group.

Notable mention: Desjardins tops the list
Desjardins is this year’s top ranking company and most likely the biggest surprise. A 35-spot leap from last year’s 36th position, the company earned its number one rank with an overall score of 84.86%. Desjardins is the largest Canadian financial cooperative group. According to a webinar hosted by Corporate Knights, significant score improvements by Desjardins were in the categories of Energy Productivity, Business Impact and Board Diversity, to name a few.

The company’s Energy Productivity KPI score was improved by 30% in 2010 compared to 2009 through a decrease in car fuel use. Specifically, Desjardins provide its employees with alternative commuting options such as a subsidized BIXI membership, incentives for carpooling and fuel-efficient cars, as well as employee Desjardins shuttle bus. [4]

“The meaning of corporate citizenship has evolved from philanthropy as a side project to how corporations can change the world for the better through their individual core competencies,” writes Corporate Knights’ Editor-In-Chief, Tyler Hamilton. [5] With eleven years of ranking Canada’s best, the evolution of what it means to be a good corporate citizen gets more refined each year.

View the list and additional resources at:

Originally posted on Justmeans


[1] Corporate Knights, Best 50 Corporate Citizens: Webinar
[2] Corporate Knights, Best 50 Corporate Citizens: Webinar
[3] Corporate Knights, Best 50 Corporate Citizens: Methodology
[4] Corporate Knights, Best 50 Corporate Citizens: Webinar
[5] Tyler Hamilton: The state of Canadian corporate citizenship

Image: Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada logo, courtesy of Corporate Knights
Meirav Even-Har
is a Justmeans staff blogger. She reports on Canadian CSR issues.  Meirav is an independent sustainability consultant and writer working in Toronto, Canada.  She specializes in green buildings, water issues and stakeholder engagement. TWITTER: @CSR_Meirav LINKED IN: