First among greens

Tuesday 15 June 1999

royal dutch/shell and Exxon Corp may never be the toast of "green" activists, but they can take comfort from a new report ranking them tops in the oil industry when it comes to the environment. Royal Dutch/Shell and Exxon took first and second place, respectively, in a study of the environmental performance of 13 leading oil companies doing business in the us . Third place belonged to Mobil Corp, while Los Angeles-based Unocal Corp finished last in the soon-to-be-released report.

Conducted by Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, the study is meant to help convince a sceptical Wall Street that there is a direct link between a company's environmental performance and its profitability. "What we have found to be financially relevant is something that Wall Street and Main Street have overlooked," said Matthew Kiernan, who founded Innovest in 1995 and is now its executive managing director. "The financial community simply does not see the connection." Innovest, an investment advisory firm based in New York, studies environmental practices of 500 companies, rating them only against firms in the same industry.

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