A software error has dethroned AkzoNobel from its No. 1 ranking on the 2010 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and restored Royal DSM N.V. to the top of the chemicals industry super-sector for the fifth time in seven years.
The annual DJSI rankings, announced in September, had crowned AkzoNobel as the 2010-11 "Supersector leader" for the chemicals industry. DSM, which had held the top spot in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2009, came in second.
DJSI, the largest global analysis of corporate sustainability leadership, is compiled by Dow Jones and SAM, a Zurich-based investment boutique.
In October, however, SAM announced that it would be reassessing the new scores because it had “identified an issue in the software used to evaluate the results.”
When the recount ended Nov. 4, eight companies had been added to the original World Index of 318, three had been deleted, and AkzoNobel had dropped to No. 2 in its sector, behind DSM.
“We are very proud to have continued the No. 1 position in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index,” said Feike Sijbesma, chairman of DSM’s Managing Board.
“It is the recognition of our continuous efforts in sustainability. Our full commitment to sustainability is shown every day in our products and innovations. Sustainability is one of the growth drivers of DSM and is the core value of the company.”
AkzoNobel had trumpeted its No. 1 ranking, which dovetailed with the announcement of its new sustainability focus and “Value and Values strategy.”
AkzoNobel CEO Hans Wijers expressed disappointment in the lower ranking but said it would not diminish his company’s sustainability efforts.
“I would like to congratulate DSM on taking over first place,” Wijers said, “but the regrettable need to reassess the results does not change anything in terms of our commitment to continuous improvement.”
“Sustainability is fully integrated into our company strategy and, regardless of today’s new ranking, AkzoNobel will strive to maintain its status as a world leader.”
Wijers also called for a regular review of SAM’s evaluation procedures. “We are closely monitoring the measures that SAM is taking and have made it clear to them that this cannot happen again,” he said. “We have to ensure that we use a reliable and consistent external benchmark to measure our sustainability performance.”
DSM, based in the Netherlands, develops materials for multiple industries, including paint and coatings. The company is organized into five clusters: Performance Materials, comprised of DSM Engineering Plastics, DSM Dyneema and DSM Resins; Polymer Intermediates, comprised of DSM Fiber Intermediates; Base Chemicals and Materials, comprised of DSM Elastomers; Nutrition, and Pharma.
AkzoNobel, also headquartered in the Netherlands, is the world’s largest paint and coatings manufacturer and a major chemical producer.