Top 10 Sustainable Companies in Australia

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Alrighty – in the last couple of months, we have covered a variety of topics around Australian businesses – ranging from Profitable Australian Small Business Ideas to Largest Australian Companies and the Famous Tech Companies in Australia.

Growing our Australian list further – today, we look at the 10 top sustainability companies in Australia ordered by their ESG grade. 

These are the companies that are investing in eco-friendly products and services.

You must be wondering – what is ESG?

Here is the answer – ESC is a parameter that measures a company’s sustainability under the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The Sustainable Companies in Australia featured in this blog are listed according to their ESG grades as of 1st July 2021. 

However, the grades of these companies may change in the future due to new developments.

Again, I might update the blog in the future if we see some major change but as of now, let’s go with what the current parameters tell us.

Now before we jump to the list, here’s what is expected of a sustainable organization:

  • A healthy balance of financial growth with environmental concern and social commitments
  • A commitment to honoring environment principles in all its business practices
  • Incorporation of sustainability in organizational structure and all its business decisions

Time to dive into the list of top sustainability companies in Australia.

CSR Limited

CSR Limited - Top 10 Sustainable Companies in Australia - lessonsatstartup

ESG Grade: A

Employees: More than 3000

Year Founded: 1885

Company CEO: Julie Coates

Industry: Building Materials

CSR Limited is an Australian industrial company that operates in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

The company started in 1855 as the Colonial Sugar Refining Company in Sydney.

CSR started milling sugarcane in the 1870s and further developed its sugar business over the next century.

CSR sold the sugar production side of its business to Singaporean-owned Wilmar in 2010 for A$1.68 billion (source: Reuters).

CSR diversified its operations, moved into construction and production of building products in the early 1940s, and started manufacturing plasterboard by 1947.

Currently, CSR Limited manufactures plasterboard, bricks, aluminium products, and insulation products. They also provide construction services.

The organisation has focused on sustainability for some time and publishes yearly reports on its sustainability goals and achievements (source: CSR).

In 2020, CSR decreased waste production by 57%, reduced electricity consumption by 24%, and reduced carbon dioxide production by 32%.

Furthermore, CSR has firm sustainability targets set for 2030 to guide its business operations and future growth.

Ioneer Limited

Ioneer Limited - Top 10 Sustainable Companies in Australia - lessonsatstartup

ESG Grade: A

Employees:

Year Founded: 2001

Company CEO: James D. Callaway

Industry: Metal Mining

Ioneer Limited is a metal mining firm based in Sydney, Australia, and active in the United States. It started in 2001 as Global Geoscience Ltd and was listed on the ASX in 2007, before changing its name to Ioneer in November 2018 (source: Ioneer).

Ioneer gets its unique name from the words “ion” and “pioneer”, which they claim reflects their “aim to be pioneers in producing materials for a sustainable future”. (source: Ioneer).

The company has expertise in mining lithium and boron and owns a mine called Rhyolite Ridge, a place in the south of the state of Nevada, United States. Ioneer began searching for the mine in 2007, partnering with authorities in Nevada to find Rhyolite Ridge.

The mine’s Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) was completed in 2020, and the mining is supposed to proceed soon, with 2.5 million tons of ore planned to be extracted each year.

Ioneer is determined to ensure a lower carbon future and aims to develop products focusing on clean energy, the environment, and the community.

The company is also a founding member of the Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA), which advocates for the use of electric vehicles in all sectors by 2030.

AGL Energy Limited

AGL Energy Limited - Top 10 Sustainable Companies in Australia - lessonsatstartup

ESG Grade: A

Employees:3,714

Year Founded:1837

Company CEO: Graeme Hunt

Industry: Energy and Utilities

AGL Energy Limited is one of Australia’s largest energy companies, with a sizable market share in both the generation and retailing markets. However, due to the nature of its business, AGL Energy is also the country’s largest carbon emitter (source: Sydney Morning Herald). 

The company’s presence on this list may seem paradoxical because of the above fact.

However, AGL Energy has publicly expressed its goal of becoming carbon neutral several times and has attempted to publicise that by splitting its operations based on its coal-fired and renewable assets (source: Greenpeace).

Along with its coal and gas-fired thermal power stations, the company owns and operates several renewable energy plants.

AGL’s energy portfolio includes solar, wind, and hydroelectric establishments.

AGL Energy also provides natural gas distribution and retailing services and has a telecommunications division and a 25% stake in ActewAGL, a multi-utility joint venture.

AGL is attempting to decommission its thermal power stations and replace them with renewable energy establishments to reduce carbon emissions.

TechnologyOne

TechnologyOne - Top 10 Sustainable Companies in Australia - lessonsatstartup

ESG Grade: A

Employees:1,200

Year Founded: 1987

Company CEO: Edward Chung

Industry: Software Development

TechnologyOne is an Australian enterprise software development company based in Brisbane, Australia. Responsible for designing and developing commercial support software, TechnologyOne operates in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, and the South Pacific.

The company was founded by Adrian Di Marco in 1987, with a specific focus on developing accounting software using relational database technology.

Di Marco approached J.L. Mctaggart Industries for initial financial backing and set up an R&D plant. TechnologyOne took off from there and was listed on the ASX in 1999.

TechnologyOne diversified from company-centric software to people-centric products in 2005. In 2006, they expanded to the U.K. and further grew their software portfolio by acquiring enterprise content management (ECM) company Avand the following year for A$10 million (source: I.T. News).

Since then, the organisation has made several other acquisitions and currently has more than a thousand employees in fourteen locations.

TechnologyOne is committed to sustainable business practices and donating 1% of its profits to associated charities while pledging to remove its carbon footprint this decade (source: TechnologyOne). 

Orora Limited

Orora Limited - Top 10 Sustainable Companies in Australia - lessonsatstartup

ESG Grade: A

Employees: 6,700

Year Founded: 1949

Company CEO: Brian Lowe

Industry:Industrial Packaging and Manufacturing

Orora Limited produces various packaging items, such as glass bottles, cartons, boxes, aluminum cans, rigid packaging, and other packaging supplies.

With operations in seven different countries, Ororo Limited has a global footprint and is one of the top manufacturers of packaging products in Australia and New Zealand.

The Orora global footprint includes 43 manufacturing plants and 88 distribution centres that help supply packaging services and products to industrial markets, grocery stores, and consumer goods (source: Orora LinkedIn).

Along with the packaging products, Orora offers a host of services to its clients, ranging from logistics and product sourcing to printing and signage.

In addition, Orora helps other companies with their R&D and guides how to adopt digital technologies and automation.

Orora Limited’s commitment to sustainability involves a focus on a circular economy, community safety and health, and climate change awareness and management (source: Orora).

Brambles Limited

Brambles Limited - Top 10 Sustainable Companies in Australia - lessonsatstartup

ESG Grade: A

Employees: 11,000

Year Founded: 1875

Company CEO: Graham Chipchase

Industry:Commercial and Professional Services

Brambles Limited has a lengthy history of business in Australia. The inception of Brambles took place in 1875 in Newcastle, New South Wales.

The company started as a butchery business and soon diversified into logistics and transport waste disposal services in 1970 after the acquisition of Purle Brother Holdings in Australia.

Nowadays, Brambles provides various commercial and professional services, specialising in pallets, pooling of unit-load equipment, containers, and crates. The company operates in over 60 countries and claims to be a pioneer of the sharing economy (source: Brambles).

Brambles claims to be one of the world’s most sustainable logistic operations. They have a “share and reuse” model in place to make full use of the world’s largest collection of reusable containers and pallets (source: Brambles).

This circular economy principle makes up the sustainability goals for Brambles, something that they are proud to advertise. Along with that, Brambles also aims to change supply-chain and logistics by pioneering what they call “regenerative supply chains”.

Australian Ethical Investment

Australian Ethical Investment - Top 10 Sustainable Companies in Australia - lessonsatstartup

ESG Grade: A

Employees: 60

Year Founded:1986

Company CEO: Joe McMurdo

Industry:Financial Services

As the name suggests, Australian Ethical Investment is based in Sydney, Australia, which offers ethical wealth management services. Currently, the organisation manages the funds for around 71,000 clients and contains a total of A$6.54 billion in funds. (source: Australian Ethical).

According to the Australian Ethical Charter, the firm has managed funds ever since it began operations in 1986.

Along with managing funds ethically, Australian Ethical also bases its business principles on the Charter, with 10% of all profits going to the organisation’s Community Grants program and the Australian Ethical Foundation.

With business practises such as these, it is easy to see why Australian Ethical Investment has earned its reputation as a sustainable organisation.

Their official purpose is “investing for a better world” (source: Australian Ethical).

Not only do they operate ethically, but they promote ethical business operations through their clients as well. Last year, Australian Ethical clients produced 77% less CO2 with 13 times more investment in renewable resources.

Moreover, Australian Ethical continued its streak with no nuclear, fossil fuel, gambling, or tobacco companies investments.

Australian Ethical proudly and rightly claims to be the country’s original and largest 100% ethical organisation.

Carbon Revolution Limited

Carbon Revolution Limited - Top 10 Sustainable Companies in Australia - lessonsatstartup

ESG Grade: A

Employees:200+

Year Founded:2007

Company CEO: Jake Dingle

Industry:Automobile parts

Carbon Revolution Limited is an auto parts manufacturer based in Geelong, Australia. Created in 2007, the company is known for its carbon fibre wheels and has successfully developed them for the global automotive and aerospace industries.

Carbon Revolution claims to have started its operations to provide disruptive efficiency to all vehicles through technology (source: Carbon Revolution).

Over the last fifteen years, Carbon Revolution has been able to get more than 50,000 of its wheels onto the road and currently stands as a tier-one OEM supplier in the automotive market and a global technology company.

For sustainability, Carbon Revolution has a holistic approach to ensuring all facets of the organisation comply with an overall environmental policy that keeps emission and pollution at a minimum.

Worley Limited

Worley Limited - Top 10 Sustainable Companies in Australia - lessonsatstartup

ESG Grade: A

Employees: 57,600

Year Founded:1971

Company CEO: Chris Ashton

Industry:Resources and Energy

Formerly known as WorleyParsons Limited, Worley is an Australian engineering company based in North Sydney, Australia. It is the successor of Wholohan Grill and Partners, which was established in 1971 as an engineering consultancy firm.

Worley expanded its geographical footprint and its industrial operations in the 1990s. It moved from the hydrocarbons sector into infrastructure, power, and environmental engineering.

At the same time, Worley’s operations expanded into Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, and Singapore (source: Worley).

Nowadays, Worley has a global reach with operations in the U.S. and Canada, as well. Its services involve everything from engineering and design to supply chain management and construction. With nearly 60,000 employees, it is one of the largest companies in Australia.

Worley is committed to ensuring sustainable operations and has publicly discussed its aim to meet the U.N. Sustainability Goals by 2030.

The organisation aims for net-zero operations and strives to create an environment with inclusion and diversity (source: Worley).

Infigen Energy

Infigen Energy - Top 10 Sustainable Companies in Australia - lessonsatstartup

ESG Grade: A

Employees: Less than 100

Year Founded:2003

Company CEO: Ross Rolfe

Industry:Energy

Infigen Energy is an Australian operator, developer, and owner of renewable energy assets in Australia. It is a subsidiary of Iberdrola and currently has a wind farm portfolio with 557 megawatts of installed capacity in Australia (source: Financial Review).

Along with that, Infigen also owns and operates several wind farms in the U.S.

The company started as Babcock and Brown Wind Partners in 2003 before changing its name to Infigen Energy in 2009.

Infigen currently ranks as one of Australia’s largest wind energy producers and is once the world’s fourth-largest producer of wind electricity (source: UPI).

Initially a public organisation, Infigen was purchased by Iberdrola in 2020. Infigen, and its parent organisation Iberdrola Energy, are dedicated to sustainability and have long-term shared value as the core of their business (source: Iberdrola).

Infigen reports to the Carbon Disclosure Project and is also a member of the Clean Energy Council of Australia.

It is a signatory for the Caring for Climate, U.N. Global Impact project, and leads the sustainable efforts in Australia.

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