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Sustainable Investing Glossary

Best in class

The best-in-class approach to Sustainable Investing means investing in companies that are leaders in their sector in terms of meeting environmental, social and governance criteria.

An investor who follows the best-in-class principle does not exclude sectors or industries, such as tobacco or mining, but instead invests in the companies that make the most effort to meet the environmental, social and governance criteria that are relevant for their respective industries. A next step is to engage with these companies to help them improve their sustainability performance. 

The most sustainable companies in a sector – also referred to as best practice – are used as a benchmark to be equaled or surpassed. 

The Dow Jones Sustainability Indices follow the best-in-class principle: out of the 2,500 corporations listed in the Dow Jones Global Index, a selection is made every year of the 10% of companies in a given sector that best meet certain ESG criteria. No industries are excluded from this process. The best-in-class approach helps stimulate competition among companies for inclusion in the indices. To be included or remain in the index, companies have to continually intensify their sustainability initiatives, to the benefit of investors, employees, customers, and ultimately society as a whole.

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