Corporate Knights: the Echoes of Sustainable Development in the Economy

Corporate Knights: the Echoes of Sustainable Development in the Economy

Toby A.A. Heaps and Paul Fengler founded the Corporate Knights (CK) magazine in 2002 weeks before the scandal at Enron was reveal. The time couldn’t have been better as the focus on business ethics began to take over Canadian media. Now more than a decade later the magazine is a leader in Canadian publishing and continues to promote what it calls ‘clean capitalism’.

The magazine’s aim is simple, to promote positive business practices and raise companies’ awareness about the economic, social and environmental aspects of their activities. What they have become most known for is their annual ranking of corporations in their Best 50 Corporate Citizens. Every year the CK research team will assess all Canadian companies with revenues of at least $2 billion and 2,000 employees based publicly available documents demonstrating their sustainability in their industry.

The methodology for the research will consider 12 key performance indicators (KPI) which cover researches, employee and financial management.

Recognizing the potential of companies whose revenue or number of employees falls below the threshold of the top 50, last year Corporate Knights created a new ranking system Top 40 Future Leaders. This considers organizations based on the same 12 KPI as the Top 50 depending on their industry.

This year Corporate Knights has ranked Export Development Canada (EDC) at the top of their Future 40 list. There were 187 companies considered for this year’s award and other top contenders include York University, and la Société de transport de Montréal (STM).

“This assessment reflects EDC’s continuous practice of improvement,” says Signi Schneider, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility. “As an organization we strive to be a model of good corporate citizenship. Our investment in this area has contributed to our continued success, and that of the Canadian businesses we work with.”

“EDC stands out for the extensive public disclosure of its operational information, but mostly for its corporate social responsibility performance and achievements” said Michael Yow, Lead Analyst, Corporate Knights. “It is therefore not a surprise that EDC claimed the top spot in the 2015 Future 40 ranking. EDC should be viewed as a model for public and private corporations alike.”

“This award is really for every EDC employee,” says Schneider. “This ranking not only recognizes our Corporate Social Responsibility practices, but also the role of our employees as engaged community members, and the efforts of our executive to support sustainable business.”

For a full outline of the Corporate Knights methodology, please visit

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