Hydro-Québec ranked first in the 2021 Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada released by Corporate Knights magazine.
This annual ranking of the organization that promotes responsible business practices is based on data in the public domain concerning the governance of companies, as well as their social and environmental performance.
According to a press release, Hydro-Québec’s ranking reflects a well-established entrepreneurial culture, which puts environmental, social and economic issues at the forefront. Over the past year, Hydro-Québec has stood out in particular in terms of water consumption, taxes paid, the diversity of the members of management and the Board of Directors, own investments as well as income.
“By the nature of our activities, we play a crucial role in promoting sustainable development and responsible business practices,” says Hydro-Québec President and Chief Executive Officer Sophie Brochu. “Obviously, we are not perfect. Much remains to be done. We are working tirelessly on it. We work closely with Indigenous communities and communities, and we constantly seek to foster diversity in our workforce. In addition, thanks to the enthusiastic participation of the people of Quebec in our Energy in Common initiative, we will be able to find and seize promising opportunities to support the energy transition. “
Hydro-Québec’s efforts in the area of social responsibility and sustainable development enabled the company to climb to the top of this year’s ranking, whereas it occupied fifth place last year. “As the world’s fourth-largest producer of hydropower, with 61 hydroelectric generating stations, Hydro-Québec enjoys a strong head start on top spot in the Best 50. But the provincially owned utility earns its No. 1 rank on merit. It established its first environmental protection committee in 1970 and now aims to be carbon-neutral by 2030. To strengthen its position in renewable energy, especially wind, solar and battery storage, Hydro-Québec last year acquired a 19.9% interest in Longueuil, Quebec–based Innergex Renewable Energy (No. 20 on this year’s Best 50). Hydro-Québec is also working with Stantec (No. 6) to measure and mitigate climate-related risks to its operations and facilities,” Corporate Knights said.
Corporate Knights first published this list in 2002. Ranking Canada’s top public companies in six categories – community, employee relations/diversity, product safety and business practices, environment, international, and corporate governance – the company recognized the 50 firms that best embodied the pro-social spirit of the new millennium.
Today, “What really matters is their work: their new sustainability initiatives, their campaigns to improve diversity and equity, their partnerships and pilot projects, their ever-higher performance targets, their breakthroughs and their well-intentioned failures. By studying the best practices of the Best 50, we believe any organization can chart a better, cleaner future,” the magazine said.
“When we compare the Best 50 against all other large Canadian companies with revenues of more than $1 billion, the Best 50 outperform on proportion of clean revenue (29.3% vs. 17.4%) and clean investments as a proportion of total investments (35% vs. 25.4%). They also pay their workers better (with a CEO-to-average-worker pay ratio of 18.47 vs. 89.59) and practise more diverse leadership (with 33.6% gender-diverse boards and 11% racially diverse boards, vs. 27% and 6.7% for run-of-the-mill big business).”