Atos, the French IT services company, has topped a new index ranking businesses for their corporate governance performance.
However, a report on the new index said the main area for companies to improve was on executive remuneration.
The index assesses companies in the CAC 40 for their rating on board practice and organisation, audit and internal controls, shareholder rights, and responsible executive remuneration.
Atos came ahead of Axa, the insurance company, followed by (in top-ten order) BNP Paribas, Danone, Engie, Legrand, Société Générale, Total, Unibail Rodamco and, in the number ten spot, Vinci.
The index was composed by Vigeo Eiris and Euronext Paris.
Fouad Benseddik, director of methods and institutional relations at Vigeo Eiris, said: “… we are convinced that this new index, which responds to strong market demand, will lead to even better recognition of the companies that rely on the most responsible governance systems.”
Meanwhile, Euronext’s chief executive, Anthony Attia, said aligning company interests with those of stakeholders
would create long-term value. “In socially responsible investment, extra-financial rating is considered a good indicator of company solidity and CSR performance,” he said.
A joint statement from Vigeo Eiris and Euronext said executive remuneration policies needed to improve.
It said: “The index shows that CAC 40 companies demonstrate robust performances in responsible corporate governance. Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) factors are well integrated, particularly in terms of respect for shareholders’ rights and audit and internal controls.
“The main area of vulnerability and axis for improvement is responsible executive remuneration, in particular the independence of remuneration committees, transparency on remuneration levels, and integration of objectives for mitigating CSR-related risks based on performance and progress indicators in short and long-term incentive plans.”