Two Australian companies, banking group Westpac and property company Stockland, along with international coal miner Xstrata, have been ranked as the world's most sustainable companies in their respective industries.
Westpac has been named the world's best bank for corporate sustainability in 2011/12 by Dow Jones Indexes (DJI) and Swiss investment boutique SAM.
Westpac beat 189 other banks in numerous sustainability metrics measured during the latest annual review of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, DJI and SAM said in a statement.
The indexes define corporate sustainability as "a business approach that creates long-term shareholder value by embracing opportunities and managing risks deriving from economic, environmental and social developments".
Each year, the world's 2,500 biggest companies, measured by free-float market capitalisation, from 57 sectors are invited to report on their sustainability.
DJI and SAM conduct assessments using a range of criteria, including corporate governance and stakeholder relations.
Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly said the ranking was testament to the extent to which the bank and its employees had embedded sustainability into every aspect of its operations.
Swiss Re was named best insurer, giant Brazilian conglomerate Itausa-Investimentos Itau SA as best financial services company, Stockland as best real estate company and Xstrata plc as best basic resources company.