Ethical ratings for big 100

AUSTRALIA’S 100 largest private and public companies are about to have their ethical and environmental performance rated.

Melbourne-based Reputation Measurement, in partnership with 21 community groups, is compiling ratings of the top 100 companies, which will be published annually.

Former Federal politician John Hewson and former managing director of credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s Graeme Lee have teamed up to create the RepuTex rating system.

Companies will be rated in four areas: corporate governance, including payments to executives; environmental impact; social impact; and workplace practices.

The most responsible companies will receive a triple-A rating, with the worst receiving a D rating.

Reputation Measurement said the aim of the ratings was to help shareholders and consumers vote with their dollars for responsible companies.

It has previously produced rankings of Australia’s top companies, from one to 100, based on similar ethical criteria.

In the latest rankings, published in October last year, Western Power (ranked 13th) was the top company in Western Australia. Other companies in WA that ranked well were Woodside (22nd), Alcoa (25th) and Wesfarmers (28th).

Further down the list were BankWest (72nd), Foodland (73rd) and Futuris (90th).

The new ratings to be prepared by Reputation Measurement are similar to the star ratings currently prepared by Sydney-based Corporate Monitor.

Its star ratings, which are confined to publicly listed companies, are published monthly in Ethical Investor magazine.

A related initiative, launched last year by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), is an awards scheme for sustainability reporting.

The ACCA awards will have three categories, covering environmental reporting, social reporting and sustainability reporting, with the latter covering social, environmental and economic impacts – the ‘triple bottom line’.

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