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08/06/2008 11:57 AM     print story email story         Page: 1  | 2  

The 2008 SB20: World's Top Sustainable Stocks

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SustainableBusiness.com announced its 2008 Sustainable Business 20 (SB20) List: The World's Top Sustainable Stocks.

The purpose of the SB20, now in its seventh year, is to showcase innovative, model companies that are leading us toward our ultimate goal of reaching a sustainable society. The list is presented in the Progressive Investor newsletter, published by SustainableBusiness.com, which tracks and analyzes sustainable stocks.

To choose the 20 companies, SustainableBusiness.com works with a group of judges, who are among the most respected social/green stock analysts in the world. Read about the judges and the selection process.

"Our goal is to create a list that showcases public companies that, over the past year, have made substantial progress in either greening their internal operations or growing a business based on an important green technology," says Rona Fried, Ph.D., SustainableBusiness.com CEO and Editor of Progressive Investor.

What differentiates the SB20 List from the many others? You'll find small companies as well as the usual large ones - and from most regions of the world, not just the USA. The selections are made from the deep knowledge and experience of our judges, not numerical formulas.

SB20 Criteria

Sustainability Criteria: The most exciting companies in terms of how they are conducting their business, or in the disruptive green technologies they are advancing that solve our environmental problems and lead us to a sustainable society. In particular, they have a very strong GREEN story, with the ability to have widespread influence.  Companies must have made major announcements and/or significant progress in meeting targets over the past year.

Financial Criteria: Companies are preferably profitable with strong management and balance sheets. Development stage companies must have revenue and be on track to profitablity. Each company would enhance an investment portfolio although it may not be in buying position today. 

The SB20 is not a "buy" list, since purchasing stocks has much to do with market conditions, but all the companies are strong financially and would be an asset to a portfolio. We strive to choose companies of various sizes, industries and parts of the world, but the list doesn't constitute a diversified portfolio.

If it's not a "Buy" List, why do we do it?

Although there's no shortage of information on the environmental performance of companies, it remains scattered and difficult to find. Few people have the time or interest to plow through sustainability reports of thousands of companies, yet we receive requests from the media, financial advisors and individual investors, NGOs, research firms and others asking us which are the top companies and how to differentiate among them.

It's hugely important that companies that are sticking their necks out feel appreciated for their work. While it's easy to make small improvements and send out press releases, it's exceedingly difficult to literally transform the way businesses operate - the products they make, how they distribute them and how they dispose of them - which is what we're asking them to do. 

The most important distinction is between Green Pioneers (companies that produce green products/ services) and Corporate Pioneers (companies with conventional products/ services that are greening their operations and product lines).

It's always tempting to focus on Green Pioneers that make natural foods, green building products or renewable energy. They're the companies people get most excited about, but it's equally important that conventional companies green their internal operations and products. This year, our list is equally divided between the two categories. 

Core SB20 Companies

We consider every company that's been on the list throughout the years to be a model of excellence and well worth evaluating as as an investment. It is only our desire to present as fresh a list as possible each year that takes some of them off the list. That's why we look for companies that have either made significant announcements or have made strong progress toward their sustainability goals over the past year. 

Every year we produce the SB20 List, a core group of companies are nominated over and over again. This year, we decided to create a "Core List" of companies that remain SB20 Members "for life." When a company is on the SB20 List for four or more years, they are considered for Core status. The following group of companies are sterling examples of excellence in their fields.

Core SB20 Companies Ticker Sector   Country
Canon  NYSE: CAJ  Electronics  Japan
Electrolux  ELUXA.ST  Appliances  Sweden
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters  Nasdaq: GMCR  Food/Agriculture  USA
Herman Miller  Nasdaq: MLHR  Green Building  USA
Novozymes  NZYM.CO  Industrial Processes  Denmark
Precious Woods  PRWN.SWX  Forestry  Switzerland
STMicroelectronics NV  NYSE: STM Semiconductors  Switzerland
Vestas Wind Systems  VWS.CO  Wind Energy  Denmark
Whole Foods Market  Nasdaq: WFMI  Food/Agriculture  USA

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