Lists & Rankings

Canada’s Top 10 Socially Responsible Corporations

The seventh annual Maclean’s ranking of companies in Canada leading the way on corporate social responsibility

Workers at a Moroccan factory producing textiles for Zara parent company Inditex

Workers at a Moroccan textile factory producing clothes for Zara parent company Inditex. (Abdelhak Senna/AFP/Getty)

This week our colleagues at Maclean’s unveiled their ranking of Canada’s Top 50 Socially Responsible Companies. This is the seventh year that the magazine has produced this ranking in collaboration with Sustainalytics, to recognize companies operating in Canada with the highest standards for responsibility toward their employees, their communities and the environment.

Social responsibility is central to the operations of these companies—they know it’s smart business to consider global issues and the broader community, whether it is through offering discounted loans for electric cars (Vancity) or helping to set up organic cotton seed banks in India (Zara). This year, for the first time, Sustainalytics ranked the companies within their industry to determine which firms are leading the way. Ten companies emerged at the top of their industries by demonstrating strong performance across important sustainability issues such as resource efficiency, impact on local communities, treatment of employees and responsible supply-chain management.

Here are Canada’s top socially responsible companies for 2015. More details—along with the honourable mentions in each sector—are available at

Category Company About
Food & Beverage
(soft drinks, packaged foods, restaurants)

In Canada, the company has focused its environmental sustainability efforts on water, energy and packaging. It reduced water usage by 40 per cent at manufacturing plants. It was also the first manufacturer in Canada to introduce all-electric, zero-emissions, green-powered delivery trucks.

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(gold, precious and diversified metals, mining, packaging)
Kinross Gold Corp.

The company is trying to make a difference in areas where it has mines. A 2013 survey conducted near its Tasiast mine in Mauritania by local sociologists found that the number of households living below the poverty line had been cut by more than half since 2011 and the unemployment rate had declined from 47 per cent to 24 per cent.

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Retailing & household goods
(food, specialty, general merchandise, home improvement)

In April 2015, it reported it had reduced production-related CO2 emissions by 50 per cent, from a 2005 baseline. It also noted that 67 per cent of new products had an improved “environmental or social profile” and the company had created 54,000 jobs for people from underprivileged communities in social or financial difficulty.

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(hardware, software, software services, semiconductors)

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), since 2008, Intel has been the largest voluntary corporate purchaser of green power in the U.S. Since 1998, the company has invested more than $220 million in water conservation programs.

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Telecom & electronics
(telephony services, electronic equipment, communication equipment, consumer electronics)

Telus is known for its strict animal-advertising code that requires it only work with reputable owners, accredited zoos and sanctuaries when filming animals for its advertisements. Telus also requires that a professional advocacy representative oversee the ethical treatment of animals during its productions.

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Textiles, Footwear & Apparel
(apparel, accessories, footwear, sportswear)
(Industria de Diseno Textil)

As a member of the Better Cotton Initiative, the firm collaborates with farmers on sustainable agricultural training projects. For example, it initiated a project to support co-operatives in Odisha, India, by training female farmers to build and conserve organic cotton seed banks, which reduces farm operating costs and improves profitability.

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(personal, commercial, corporate, investment banking & credit unions)
(Vancouver City Savings Credit Union)

The Vancouver City Savings Credit Union has increased its holdings of clean tech and renewable energy companies. It is leading the way by integrating environmental, social and governance factors into its investment decisions. In 2015, Vancity was named one of Canada’s greenest employers.

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Transportation & Logistics
(automobiles, railroads, shipping)

Earlier this year, BMW announced a partnership with Pacific Gas & Electric to test the potential for electric vehicle batteries to provide services to the electric grid. And in Rosslyn, South Africa, BMW uses more than 70 solar collectors on its roof to supply most of the hot water it needs in its paint shop.

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(industrial conglomerates, machinery, aerospace & defence)
(Koninklijke Philips N.V.)

Philips, one of the largest electronics companies in the world, sources major quantities of raw materials, including tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. It has made a commitment to eliminate the use of so-called conflict minerals. It has also joined the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition
(EICC) to support local economic development. In collaboration with the EICC, Philips launched the Conflict Minerals Reporting Template, a survey used to identify suppliers that process metals in its supply chain.

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Energy & Utilities
(oil & gas exploration and production, power generators)
Pacific Rubiales Energy

Across the world’s biggest energy companies, women remain underrepresented, even though growing energy demand has increased the need for a larger and more diverse workforce. To address this issue, Pacific Rubiales struck a gender committee to implement a series of programs and tools to promote gender equality across the company and the communities in which it operates.

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Here’s Michael Jantzi, CEO of Sustainalytics, explaining how different industries approach their corporate social responsibility initiatives, and how this annual ranking helps drive advancements across a range of industries.