Unilever tops the 2020 Leaders Survey – again


Unilever has once again emerged as the company with the best reputation for integrating sustainability into its business strategy. The consumer goods giant tops the ranking of the 2020 GlobeScan/SustainAbility Leaders Survey for the tenth consecutive year, recognized by 42% of respondents. Patagonia is in second place with 26%, while Ikea ranks third with 14%. Interface sits in the fourth position with 8%, continuing its run as the only company to be included in the top cohort of sustainability leaders in all of the 23 years this survey has taken place since being launched in 1997.

Four companies made it onto the Leaders List for the first time this year: Microsoft, Ørsted, L’Oreal and Tata. US-based tech giant Microsoft and Denmark’s leading energy company Ørsted have been gaining particular recognition for their climate efforts. India-based conglomerate Tata is establishing itself as a sustainability frontrunner in South Asia and joins Brazil-based Natura & Co as only the second company not based in Europe or North America to be recognized in this select group. Despite the encouraging entrance of these four new additions, the overall reputation of the private sector remains bleak. Only 17% of respondents believe that companies are doing enough to advance the sustainable development agenda.

COVID-19 pandemic

The annual GlobeScan/SustainAbility Leaders Survey tracks global expert opinion on the evolution of the sustainability agenda and the companies and organizations that experts perceive to be leaders. This year it collected responses between May and July, which is when the global community was battling the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional questions were asked to gauge expert opinion on how this unprecedented crisis may impact the sustainability agenda and leadership action. More than 700 experts in 71 countries contributed to the 2020 Leaders Survey.