FTSE Group (“FTSE”), a leading global index provider and pioneer in responsible investment, has launched the Sir Mervyn Pedelty Award to recognise companies which have made the most significant improvements to the sustainability of their businesses in recent years. The inaugural winner is Unilever, with Go-Ahead, Intel and Diageo highly commended.
FTSE created the award in memory of the late Sir Mervyn Pedelty, former Chief Executive of the Co-operative Bank, and former Chair of the FTSE4Good Policy Committee. Mark Makepeace, Chief Executive of FTSE, said:”We wanted to acknowledge the leadership position of those companies that do more to promote higher social, environmental and governance standards, and encourage others to work towards achieving higher FTSE4Good ESG Ratings. Sir Mervyn was passionate about advancing corporate sustainability. We are very proud of his involvement in the FTSE4Good Index Series and we felt this award was a fitting tribute to him.”
This year’s winner, Unilever, was chosen from a short list of eight that scored very highly relative to their sector, and which have improved their ratings significantly over the past three years. Companies were judged partly on their FTSE4Good ESG ratings, as well as on the quality of their sustainability strategy and the delivery against that strategy over recent years, together with quantified evidence of their achievements.
Mark Makepeace presented the award to Jean-Marc Huet, Unilever’s Chief Financial Officer, at the London Stock Exchange today. Jean-Marc, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as the inaugural winner of the Sir Mervyn FTSE4Good Award. The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan is at the heart of our new business model for sustainable, equitable growth and, excitingly, is inspiring people inside and outside the company. We’re 18 months into the Plan and we’ve already achieved much, but it will all be for nought if we can’t persuade others – consumers, NGOs, governments, businesses – to each take small actions individually to make a big difference collectively and to work in partnership to help solve some of the big issues the planet faces.”
The awarding committee comprised members of the FTSE4Good Policy Committee together Jill Pedelty, representing her late husband Sir Mervyn Pedelty. The committee agreed unanimously that Unilever was the overall winner, commenting that: “The company has set a long term sustainability vision for what it wants to achieve by 2020, underpinned by over 60 detailed targets, as well as senior management objectives and incentives. It is making strong progress against the 60 targets and is open about where there are challenges and how they intend to address them.”
All the shortlisted companies demonstrated strong environmental performance and had serious approaches to social responsibility and governance. The overall winner, Unilever, and the three highly commended companies, Diageo, Go-Ahead and Intel, set themselves apart through a clear demonstration of integrating environmental and social performance into corporate strategy, setting ambitious goals and measuring their progress against them.