RobecoSAM is an investment specialist focused exclusively on Sustainability Investing. It is also the company behind the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, the widely recognized series of stock exchange indexes which attempt to recognize corporate leadership in Sustainable Development and social responsibility.
It is not surprising that such a sustainability reporting leader would seek to rank countries on their sustainability. In a just published summary, entitled Measuring Country Intangibles, RobecoSAM evaluates 59 countries – 21 developed and 38 emerging markets – on a broad range of Environmental, Social and Governance factors that RobecoSAM considers to be relevant for investors. Within this framework, Canada ranks 7th after Sweden, Australia, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, and the United Kingdom but two positions ahead of the United States.
The analysis is interesting because it awards 60% of the ranking to governance, including such aspects as rights and liberties, human capital and innovation, internal risks and inefficiencies, management of public goods, protection of property rights, democratic participation, corruption, terrorism and political crimes, competition / liberalization, demographic profile, and monetary policy independence. Social aspects account for 25% of the overall ranking and include human welfare education, life expectancy, and number of strikes and lockouts. Environment accounts for only 15% of the ranking and includes emissions, biodiversity, energy use, energy sources, exposure to environmental risks, and risk mitigation. RobecoSAM does not explain the foundation for this 60:25:15 weighting, nor does its summary report provide individual country scores on each of the various indicators.
It is interesting, however, to break out the scores for environmental performance based on the information that RobecoSAM does provide. Whatever the limitations of this kind of ranking, and they are numerous, as even RobecoSAM acknowledges, Canada ranks 18th in environmental sustainability out of the 59 countries analysed for sustainability by RobecoSAM.
That’s a record of which no Canadian should be proud.
The RobecoSAM Country Sustainability Ranking is available at http://www.robecosam.com/en/sustainability-insights/about-sustainability/country-sustainability-ranking.jsp