Almost half the companies admitted to the FTSE4Good index
in its latest review are from the UK, marking the fifth consecutive review in
which it has come top of the global indices for responsible investment stocks.
The review, which was effective from the end of March, shows that 11 of the
23 new entrants to the series are UK companies from a range of sectors,
including FTSE-250 companies Investec and Britvic, and FTSE-Smallcaps bars and
clubs operator Luminar.
The UK has provided the most new entrants to the FTSE4Good index for five
consecutive twice-yearly reviews, with Japan and the US coming second and third
respectively. In the March review, Japan added five new entrants while the US
added just three. Just one UK company, FTSE-250 listed Millennium &
Copthorne Hotels, was deleted because it did not meet FTSE’s guidelines on
countering bribery; in comparison, six Japanese companies and five US companies
were dropped because they no longer meet FTSE4Good criteria on issues such as
labour rights and climate change.
Will Oulton, director of responsible investment at FTSE, believes stakeholders
now expect issues of corporate responsibility to be added to any company’s
“The responsible business community in the UK is leading the change and that
is why there are consistently a large number of UK companies in the index. It is
a brave company that doesn’t recognise responsible and sustainable business
practice,” says Oulton.
The FTSE4Good index, launched in 2002, judges listed companies’ performance
on a number of criteria, from money laundering and countering bribery measures
to human rights. Climate change criteria was added in early 2007.
The fact that UK businesses are improving their sustainability and ethical
performance has prompted prime minister Gordon Brown to insist that the country
will pull itself out of recession by way of environmental management investments
and that it can lead progress in this field amid European countries.
Brown has said the UK could become a global environmental capital and with
the world’s first “carbon budget” unveiled in April this could be the way
forward for UK business.