Leading the Charge: The Clean200 Reveals Top Corporations Paving the Way for Clean Energy Transition

The Clean200 Reveals Top Corporations Paving the Way for Clean Energy Transition

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by | Feb 23, 2023

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The Clean200 Reveals Top Corporations Paving the Way for Clean Energy Transition

(Credit: Canva Pro)

The information technology sector contributed about $586 billion to the sustainable revenue of the 2023 Clean200 companies, which accounted for almost one-fourth of the total revenue. The communications services sector and the industrials sector followed closely with $542 billion and $400 billion, respectively. Among sustainable investments, the utilities and industrials sector led the way with $50 billion each, while the communications services sector invested $24 billion in sustainable ventures.

On average, U.S. companies had the highest sustainable revenue at $23 billion, followed by Germany at $18 billion and South Korea at $17 billion.

Today marks the release of the 10th update of the Carbon Clean 200™ by As You Sow and Corporate Knights. This list recognizes 200 publicly traded companies from around the world that are at the forefront of the global transition to clean energy sources.

“In 2016 we created the Clean200 in response to investors saying, ‘if we divest fossil fuels there is nothing to invest in,’” said Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow and report co-author. “The Clean200 has demonstrated consistently that what we called the ‘clean energy’ future seven years ago is now the clean energy present. This year, the scale and global diversity of leading companies continue to expand and redefine the term cleantech to be any company that has products and services that will reduce demand for fossil fuels and water.”

After a thorough evaluation of 6,720 global firms, this year’s Clean200 companies emerged as the leaders. They were assessed based on the revenue generated from products and services that align with the Corporate Knights Sustainable Economy Taxonomy, while also meeting important criteria for socially responsible investing. These criteria include not being flagged by As You Sow’s Invest Your Values platform, which identifies companies involved in fossil fuels, weapons, private prisons, thermal coal, or those with a history of systematically obstructing climate policies.

Key Findings

  • The Americas and Europe account for 38.5% and 31.5% respectively of this year’s Clean200, while the remaining 60 companies are headquartered in the Asia Pacific region.
  • The United States dominated the 2023 Clean200 list with 42 companies, followed by China with 21 and Japan with 16.
  • On average, 58.3% of Clean200 companies’ revenues are classified as sustainable, representing close to $2.4 trillion, which is significantly above the 5% average for their MSCI ACWI peers.*
  • On average, 44.4% of Clean200 companies’ capital expenditure, acquisitions, and research and development expenses are defined as sustainable, compared to only 7% among MSCI ACWI constituents.
  • The Information Technology sector accounted for nearly a quarter of the total sustainable revenue at $586 billion, followed by the Communications Services sector ($542 billion) and the Industrials sector ($400 billion).
  • The Utilities and Industrials sectors led in sustainable investments with $50 billion each, followed by the Communications Services sector at $24 billion.
  • U.S. companies had the highest sustainable revenue at $23 billion, followed by Germany at $18 billion and South Korea at $17 billion.

Top 10 Companies

The top 10 companies on the list by revenue include Apple Inc., which offers sustainably-certified phones and laptops; Alphabet Inc. which includes its web mapping platform; Deutsche Telekom AG.; Verizon Communications Inc. — both in telecommunications services; and Tesla Inc. for its electric vehicles.

About As You Sow

As You Sow is a nonprofit organization that focuses on promoting corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability through shareholder advocacy. The organization was founded in 1992 and is based in Oakland, California.

As You Sow works by engaging with companies through shareholder advocacy, filing shareholder resolutions on environmental and social issues, and engaging in dialogue with corporate management to encourage positive change. The organization focuses on issues such as climate change, waste reduction, sustainable agriculture, and human rights. In addition to shareholder advocacy, As You Sow also provides information and tools to investors, such as a proxy voting guide that helps shareholders vote in alignment with their values and interests.

Corporate Knights Sustainable Economy Taxonomy

The Corporate Knights Sustainable Economy Taxonomy (SET) is a system of classification for companies based on their sustainability performance. The SET was developed by Corporate Knights, a media and investment research company that specializes in sustainability, and it aims to provide investors with a standardized framework for evaluating a company’s sustainability performance.

The Leading category is reserved for companies that demonstrate strong sustainability performance relative to their peers. The Laggard category is for companies that perform poorly on sustainability, while the On Track category is for companies that are making progress but have not yet reached leading status.

*The MSCI ACWI Index, MSCI’s flagship global equity index, is designed to represent performance of the full opportunity set of large- and mid-cap stocks across 23 developed and 24 emerging markets. As of May 2022, it covers more than 2,933 constituents across 11 sectors and approximately 85% of the free float-adjusted market capitalization in each market. The index is built using MSCI’s Global Investable Market Index (GIMI) methodology, which is designed to take into account variations reflecting conditions across regions, market cap sizes, sectors, style segments and combinations.

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