A Neste tanker lorry on a road running through a green field.
 Espoo, Finland-based Neste has been ranked on the Global 100 longer than any other energy company, for 15 consecutive years. Image: Tomi Parkkonen
Sustainable Solutions

Five Finnish firms ranked in top 100 worldwide for sustainability

Neste, UPM, Metso Outotec, Nordea Bank and Kesko have all been listed in the 2021 Global 100, the 100 most sustainable corporations on Earth by Corporate Knights.

Aleksi Teivainen


Neste, an oil refiner headquartered in Espoo, Finland, was recognised in the index for the 15th consecutive year, the longest streak for any energy company in the world, sliding back one place from the previous year to fourth.

Peter Vanacker, the CEO of Neste, highlighted that cracking the listing is becoming more difficult by the year, as a growing number of businesses are integrating sustainability as a core part of their business.

Greenfield zinc plant in Russia

Metso Outotec won a 100-million-euro key process equipment contract in December 2020 for a greenfield zinc plant in Russia. Image: Metso Outotec

“We are pleased to be recognised as one of the most sustainable companies in the world,” he commented. “We believe that, together with our partners, we can succeed in reducing the impacts of the climate crisis. We will also continue improving the sustainability of our own operations.”

Metso Outotec was ranked eighth, UPM 22nd, Nordea Bank Apb 86th and Kesko Oyj 87th by Corporate Knights, a media and investment advisory based in Toronto, Canada.

“Our focus is on developing sustainable products and services to our aggregates, minerals and metals industry customers,” told Piia Karhu, the head of business development at Metso Outotec. “We can support our customers with energy-and-emission-efficient and water-efficient solutions, as well as circular solutions and safety. We are also committed to reducing the CO2 emissions of our own manufacturing, logistics and supply chain.”

Corporate Knights analysed 8 080 companies relative to their industry peers based on a series of environmental, social and governmental indicators, including clean investments, paid sick leave, and executive and board racial diversity.

small bottle representing UPM's wood-based biochemicals

In 2020, UPM announced a new biorefinery to be built in Leuna, Germany, to produce a range of wood-based biochemicals that can replace fossil raw materials. Image: UPM

The COVID-19 pandemic, it highlighted, has prompted governments around the world to kick-start their economies by allocating trillions for green investments in their stimulus plans. It is not only governments taking action, however, as also the number of companies and municipalities committing to net-zero goals has more than doubled since last year.

“[T]he Corporate Knights Global 100 index continues to demonstrate that sustainability is good business and enables companies to outperform their peers,” it argued.

Companies recognised in the index derived 41 per cent of their revenues from products or services that align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, according to Corporate Knights. They are additionally more gender diverse than their peers, with non-male members accounting for 32 per cent of their board members.

The advisory also drew attention to how the index illustrates how sustainability is clearly independent of economic might: Finland and Denmark each had five companies but China only two in the 2021 Global 100.

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