US banking giants Bank of America and Citigroup are among five major corporates that have been removed from US exchange NASDAQ’s global sustainability index as part of a regular re-ranking.
Oil major Chevron, gold mining group Goldcorp and pharmaceuticals titan Pfizer have also been deleted.
The index – the NASDAQ OMX CRD Global Sustainability Index – aims to be a benchmark for US-traded companies taking a leadership role in sustainability performance reporting.
The specific rationale for the deletions is not specified but the index showcases companies at the forefront of disclosing their carbon footprint, energy usage, water consumption, hazardous and non-hazardous waste, employee safety, workforce diversity, management composition and community investing.
“These are companies that are voluntarily disclosing their current environmental, social and governance risks as well as their revenue opportunities and how it will affect future performance,” NASDAQ and research partner CRD Analytics say.
To be eligible for inclusion in the index, companies have to meet a range of criteria. They must publish asustainability/responsibility report and disclose compatible sustainability data according to Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines. They must also report at least 20% of total core environmental and social performance indicators.
Bank of America in particular has come under scrutiny from investors recently over the disclosure of climate change financing.
Earlier this month it emerged that some of the world’s largest investors backed a shareholder proposal focusing on the issue at the bank’s annual meeting.
The resolution – filed by faith investor the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary and others – asked the bank to report on the greenhouse emissions resulting from its lending portfolio and its exposure to climate change risk.
Meanwhile, five companies have been added to the 100-constituent index. They are Internet content delivery network Akamai Technologies, biotech firms Biogen Idec and Celgene and computer storage firm NetApp (all NASDAQ-listed) and NYSE-listed utility holding group Edison International.