Top 10 sustainable companies in Europe

From startups to multinationals, energy to consumer goods, these top 10 companies are the most sustainable in Europe

Sister publication Sustainability Magazine has unveiled its Top 100 Companies in Sustainability, acknowledging the businesses putting ESG at the heart of their operations and decision-making.

This top 100 arrives just as Sustainability Magazine gears up for its inaugural Sustainability LIVE event, which is being held over two days in London 23-24 February 2022, as well as virtually, and will convene leaders and innovators who are making meaningful change to debate and discuss the key issues being addressed by businesses globally. 

Following a flood of nominations by readers of Sustainability Magazine, the publication’s team whittled them down to 100 companies who they believe have successfully outlined their targets for the future and are contributing to ESG issues in a multitude of ways – from energy multinationals and tech corporations to logistics firms and consumer goods companies, not to mention those firms providing solutions to tackling climate change. 

From this list, we highlight the top 10 most sustainable companies that hail from and are headquartered in Europe. 

1 Schneider Electric

Year Founded: 1836 (France)

CEO: Jean-Pascal Tricoire 

Industry: Energy/Digital Solutions

Having advocated sustainability for more than two decades, multinational energy management and digital transformation corporation Schneider Electric is renowned for its climate ambitions and ability to empower the next generation of digital energy transformation.

The last year has seen the company incorporate a broad spectrum of energy-related goals into its sustainability strategy, among them the inclusion of climate action in its pledge to achieve a carbon-neutral footprint ahead of the 2050 net-zero target; replacing single-use plastic packaging with recycled cardboard; and bridging the gap between meta and women in its hiring process. 

Engaging supply chains in its Zero Carbon Project, Schneider is committed to providing digital tools and resources to its 1000 suppliers, giving back to an industry that has not only maintained business momentum but requires a lot of support to reduce its environmental impacts – equating to around 70% of its own carbon emissions. 

2 Neste Oyj 

Year Founded: 2005 (Finland)

CEO: Peter Vanacker

Industry: Renewables and Environment 

Pioneering developments in sustainable fuels, the Finland-based Neste has made a significant impression on the aviation industry in 2021 with its advances in Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). 

The company is driven by a strong sense of purpose and strives for a healthier planet by creating alternatives to conventional fuels and refining plastic alternatives and other materials. 

The company’s vision for the future consists of a healthy environment, ethical operations and mitigation of modern slavery, as well as providing annual improvements in line with climate goals. Neste has experienced great success with promising results from the testing of its SAF.

3 Ørsted A/S 

Year Founded: 2006 (Denmark)

CEO: Mads Nipper 

Industry: Energy 

Ørsted is one of the leading multinational energy corporations based in Fredericia, Denmark. In 2021, the company successfully formed a consortium of leading businesses in floating offshore wind energy to drive renewable energy projects in Scotland, UK, to meet its net-zero goals. 

Throughout the year, Ørsted continued to develop its wind power capabilities both onshore and offshore as it comes to terms with its obligations to provide businesses with innovative renewable energy solutions and build lasting client relationships, saving them time, money and reducing their overall climate impact. It remains a market leader. 

4 Unilever 

Year Founded: 1929 (UK)

CEO: Alan Jope

Industry: Consumer Goods 

One of the most mentioned sustainable companies, the consumer goods organisation Unilever is making exciting new developments in packaging with the idea that paper-based bottles will replace plastic. 

With a clear view of its social and environmental obligations, Unilever is committed to developing plant-based alternatives to fossil-fuel-derived cleaning products and packaging, reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2039, and is already taking social action for people's welfare. 

It will achieve this by raising the standards of living across the globe and employing 93% of leaders from local communities, as well as promoting diversity and inclusion in modern society. 

5 Nestlé 

Year Founded: 1866 (Switzerland)

CEO: Mark Schneider 

Industry: Food & Beverages 

As one of the world’s largest food and beverage corporations, Nestlé understands its corporate ability to provoke change, both environmentally and socially. 

The company does this by promoting wider knowledge and better health through food. It has provided nutritional education to more than 80 million children and supported 350 million parents in healthy cooking. 

The firm has also put a lot of energy into rural development as part of its responsible sourcing initiative and is an advocate for effective water solutions. 

6 Adidas 

Year Founded: 1949 (Germany)

CEO: Kasper Rørsted 

Industry: Sporting Goods 

The popular sportswear brand Adidas is very much involved in sustainability, specifically in waste management and designing products that suit the circular economy. The company has partnered with Parley Ocean Plastic to develop footwear from recycled plastic as a project that will benefit eco-conscious consumers. 

Sustainability is embedded in the business with years spent reducing the business’ contribution to waste, and, since 1998, ensuring responsible sourcing throughout its global supply chain processes. 

7 SAP 

Year Founded: 1972 (Germany)

CEO: Christian Klein 

Industry: Computer Software 

The global software provider SAP has expanded its use of technology to meet the needs of people and the planet. The firm’s innovative culture allows it to tackle various customer issues through technology and it also contributes, through solutions engineering, to alternative fuel development, the management of diversity and equality, and change to creating opportunities across the globe. 

The company sports various software solutions for sustainability, such as its ESG reporting, climate change impact management, circular economy solutions, and products for measuring social responsibility. 

8 Siemens AG 

Year Founded: 1847 (Germany)

CEO: Roland Busch

Industry: Industrial Automation 

Sustainability is at the heart of all operations at Siemens and has been for many years. The organisation’s DEGREE framework sets out a clear mission for the corporation moving forward as it addresses key areas of decarbonisation, ethical practices, governance, resources, diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Through the use of Science-Based targets, Siemens is working towards a clean supply chain and more efficient operations. In its most recent report, the company highlights a significant reduction in Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions of around 80,000 metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent. 

9 Novozymes A/S 

Year Founded: 2000 (Denmark)

CEO: Ester Baiget 

Industry: BioTechnology 

With sustainability integrating into its core functions, Novozymes pledges more transparency in its operations as it declares life cycle assessment and ESG integration to be key focal points for the future of its Biotech developments. 

Life cycle assessment has been an integral task at the company since 2004 and will continue to provide more insight into its environmental implications. The company was also awarded the Platinum medal by Ecovadis in 2021 and a ‘B’ rating from CDP in 2020. 

10 Moncler 

Year Founded: 1952 (Italy)

CEO: Remo Ruffini 

Industry: Luxury Goods & Jewellery 

Luxury goods and jewellery label Moncler was featured in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in 2021 for its sustainable approach to fashion. Using an innovative mechanical process, Moncler will begin to recycle certain down materials as part of its Down Integrity System & Traceability (DIST) protocol, a process that also utilises 70% less water than conventional recycling methods. 

Its plans will also focus on traceability against social and environmental standards to ensure a more responsible use of its supply chain. 


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