Index Launched for Europe's Greenest Firms

ZURICH, Switzerland, October 17, 2001 (ENS) - An index of Europe's most sustainable firms has been launched by global market index maker Dow Jones with partners Stoxx and sustainability assessment specialist Sam. The "Dow Jones Stoxx Sustainability Indexes" family includes the leading 20 percent of companies in a general index of 600 top European firms, also produced by Dow Jones and Stoxx.

The initiative is the first regional sustainability index, and is based on assessment criteria developed by Dow Jones and Sam to launch a global sustainability index in 1999.

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Office buildings, London (Photo courtesy Freefoto.com)
The new index covers the leading 10 percent in the Dow Jones global index of 2,500 companies. It will track the financial performance of the leading companies in terms of economic, environmental and social criteria in Europe.

It takes into account environmental, social and financial criteria, including environmental reporting, product design and human rights and corruption policies. Overall, it is supposed to identify "future oriented and innovative companies."

As well as the main European index, the initiative includes a second index focused just on the euro-zone. There are also sustainability plus ethical indices for each region, which exclude businesses involved in alcohol, gambling, tobacco, armaments or firearms.

An official from Sam told reporters that the European indices had been prompted by increasing interest from European investors looking to invest in sustainable companies.

The official added that firms in the sustainability index had slightly outperformed the full European index over the last two and a half years.

Firms based in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have the greatest share of presence on the index.

Leaders among the 120 listed firms include Volkswagen (Germany) among car makers, Henkel (Germany) in chemicals, Boots (UK) in the retail sector, and ING (Netherlands) in the financial sector.

Royal Dutch Shell is ahead in energy, and Swiss Reinsurance comes out best in the insurance sector.

The Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes are online at: http://www.sustainability-index.com/

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{Published in cooperation with ENDS Environment Daily, Europe's choice for environmental news. Environmental Data Services Ltd, London. Email: envdaily@ends.co.uk}