Two companies with strong ties to the natural products industry have been selected for inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World). They are French dairy company Danone and Danish ingredients supplier Danisco, which was included on the index for the eighth consecutive year.
DJSI World — with 317 companies — is one of 16 indexes in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI) family. The indexes track the financial performance of the leading sustainability-driven companies in different regions of the world. DJSI World represents the top 10 per cent of the leading sustainability companies in each of DJSI's 19 industry categories.
Reviewed and updated each year, the DJSI World index is based on an analysis of economic, environmental and social performance, including such issues as corporate governance, risk management, climate change mitigation, supply chain standards and labour practices.
Out of DJSI World's 317 listed companies, 12 came from the food producer category, with Danisco being the only business-to-business supplier. (See chart below for a complete listing).
The DJSI were launched in 1999 by three partners: the Dow Jones Indexes, publisher of the well-known stock indicator; STOXX Limited, the leading European index provider; and SAM Group, a pioneer in sustainable investing.
The indexes can be used by asset managers as a source of objective benchmarks to manage their sustainability portfolios. To date, dozens of mutual funds tied to the DJSI have been launched by dozens of companies worldwide, such as The Dreyfus Corp and TD Asset Management in the US.
Committing to Sustainability
Founded in Copenhagen in 1989, Danisco is a producer of food ingredients, enzymes and bio-based solutions. It has operations in 80 locations in 40 countries. The company issues an annual report on its sustainability practices, and its 2009 report can be viewed here.
Some of the company's sustainability targets include the following:
- To achieve food safety certification of 50 per cent of all food ingredient production sites that supply an exterior consumer by 2010
- To reduce water use by 5 per cent per kilo product by 2011
- To reduce energy use by 10 per cent per kilo product by 2011
- To conduct sustainability assessments at 95 per cent of its production sites by 2013
"We are proud of our inclusion on the DJSI and are very satisfied with our performance, especially in the areas of innovation management, and health and nutrition," says Jeff Hogue, vice president of global sustainability for Danisco.
"The index is important to us as it assesses how well we identify and manage both potential business risks and opportunities in the economic, environmental and social areas. It also allows us to transparently inform current and potential investors of our progress toward sustainability."
In terms of volume, Danone is the world's leading producer of fresh dairy products, with sales on 3.2 million metric tonnes in 2008. The division accounts for roughly 60 per cent of the group's sales, and achieved 8 per cent growth in 2008.
Danone's worldwide market share stands at around 28 per cent, and its products are sold in 40 countries. The company's flagship brands are Activia (Bio in Japan), Actimel and Danonino (Petit Gervais, Danimals).
Dow Jones Sustainability Index World members
Food Producer Category
Ajinomoto Co. (Japan)
Cadbury PLC (UK)
Campbell Soup Co. (US)
DUP: Unilever PLC (UK)
Danisco A/S (Denmark)
General Mills Inc. (US)
H.J. Heinz Co. (US)
Kraft Foods Inc. (US)
Nestlé S.A. (Switzerland)
Nippon Meat Packers Inc. (Japan)