Here’s the low-down on sustainable business practices

A woman wearing a face mask rides her motorcycle past a billboard that reads, "Joining hands for a sustainable environment" in Hanoi on July 28, 2020.

By U2B Staff 

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More companies are now doing the most to place a priority on and embrace sustainable business practices — and we’re here for it.  According to Forbes, the top five most sustainable brands of 2020 are Orsted A/S (Denmark), Chr. Hansen Holding A/S (Denmark), Neste Oyj (Finland), Cisco Systems Inc, (United States), Autodesk Inc (United States). 

An ethical brand ensures its workers receive fair treatment across the supply chain — this includes policies and practices on child labour, forced labour, worker safety, the right to join a union, and payment of a living wage. It also cares about its use of resources and energy, reducing its carbon emissions, impact on our waterways, as well as using and disposing of chemicals safely.  

Moving up 69 spots since 2018 and now first on the list, Ørsted has reinvented themselves by divesting in fossil fuels and investing in offshore wind power, which helped the organisation reduce carbon emissions by 83%.

“The transformation has now come to a point where the vast majority of our energy production comes from renewable sources,” says Henrik Poulsen, CEO, and president of Ørsted. 


Toby Heaps, co-founder and CEO of Corporate Knights said, “They completely revamped their core business from being a pretty coal-intensive utility to being almost a pure-play renewable power provider.” 

Nearly half the companies on the Corporate Knights’ list are based in Europe, 29 in North America, and 18 in Asia. For over 40 years, Europe has put in place some of the world’s highest environmental standards and ambitious climate policies. 

Part of the European Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the transition to a circular economy, including a circular bioeconomy. It is a huge opportunity to create competitive advantages on a sustainable basis. Applying circular economy principles in all sectors and industries will benefit Europe environmentally and socially. 

In addition to having the potential to generate a net economic benefit of EUR 1.8 trillion by 2030, resulting in over one million new jobs across the EU by 2030, and be central to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Given that EU products rely heavily on the resources of other parts of the world, the transition to a circular economy would also help the EU decrease environmental, social, and economic pressures globally, and increase the EU’s strategic autonomy. 

Education, training, and life-long learning are indispensable to create a sustainable culture. The reformation and modernisation of education systems from building green schools and green campuses to developing new skills for the digital economy has seen an increase over the years. 

More British universities are challenging mainstream approaches and focusing on strategic pathways to address socio-environmental injustices to help shape future sustainable development agendas — The University of Bath (UoB), University of Leeds, and University College London are no different. 

Offering MSc in Sustainability and Management, Sustainability and Consultancy, and Environment and Sustainable Consultancy respectively, these universities are among the others that cover a broad range of sustainability topics beyond just environmental issues – from project development to corporate sustainability strategy.