“Exploring the Global Sustainable Innovation Landscape: The Top 100 Companies and Beyond” reveals the companies championing innovation to solve critical sustainability challenges

Samsung, Johnson & Johnson, and Toyota Motor lead new LexisNexis ranking of business contributions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

New York, Tuesday, July 11, 2023: LexisNexis® Legal & Professional, the leading provider of intelligent patent analytics, recognizes the businesses driving environmental and social progress in “Exploring the Global Sustainable Innovation Landscape: The Top 100 Companies and Beyond.” This first-of-its-kind report ranks companies according to the potential of their patent portfolios to advance innovation toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As 80 percent of technical information is published only in patents, the report leverages the LexisNexis® PatentSight® analytics platform to objectively map global patent data to targets and progress indicators for the SDGs, revealing which companies, regions, and industries contribute the most. Samsung, Johnson & Johnson, Toyota Motor, Qualcomm, and LG Chem are named the world’s top corporate owners of patents that address the SDGs, while the United States leads among countries in the number of patent holders on the list, followed by Japan, China, and Germany.

The rising trajectory and value of sustainable innovation

The UN established the Sustainable Development Goals framework in 2015 with a 2030 deadline. 2023 represents the halfway mark, but is the world halfway to achieving the Goals? While the UN provides clear timelines and numerical measures for meeting the SDGs, predicting forward-looking progress is challenging. By mapping SDG indicators to data on millions of patent families, LexisNexis has developed a new, transparent framework for evaluating the potential for innovation to accelerate sustainable impact.

Among many insights, the report shows that companies are increasingly aligning their strategies with sustainable development, with 75 percent of the Top 100 stating the SDGs’ relevance to their business objectives. However, the report also finds that sustainable innovation is concentrated among high performers, with the Top 100 claiming nearly a third of the absolute SDG-related strength contained in the entire LexisNexis® database of over 147 million patent documents.

“In the face of crises like recent wildfires in Canada and an ever-evolving pandemic, our greatest hope lies in the power of innovation,” said Marco Richter, Head of Global Customer Success, LexisNexis® Intellectual Property Solutions. “As more businesses heed the call to develop new solutions, we need objective methods for evaluating these contributions and identifying those making the most progress. Exploring the Global Sustainable Innovation Landscape showcases the power of patent analytics to monitor and promote progress on some of the landmark challenges of our time.”

“With the release of Global Leaders in Sustainable Innovation report, LexisNexis introduces a new standard of excellence for responsible and sustainable business. Philips’ high ranking in the report is a reflection of our commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being. As a responsible leader in health technology, we have defined a clear purpose that guides everything we do to improve people’s health and well-being through meaningful innovation. People-centric and patient-centric innovation has always been in the core of the company. By objectively mapping patents to the SDGs and ranking SDG-related corporate patent portfolios by strength, the Global Leaders in Sustainable Innovation report identifies companies like ours that are building a healthier, prosperous, and more sustainable world.” said Marnix van Ginneken, Chief ESG and Legal Officer at Royal Philips.

The share of the top SDGs by Patent Asset Index™ of the Top 100. Source: Exploring the Global Sustainable Innovation Landscape: The Top 100 Companies and Beyond.

 

The report features new insights into the innovation profile of the strongest performers, as well as the regional and market dynamics shaping sustainable intellectual property strategies.

Leaders in sustainable innovation:

  • The Top 3 sustainable leaders by the absolute strength of their SDG-related patent portfolios are Samsung (1st overall), Johnson & Johnson (2), and Toyota Motor (3). While Johnson & Johnson and Toyota Motor have a higher share of SDG-alignment in their portfolios, the exceptional strength of Samsung’s SDG-related patents put the company in first place.

SDG innovation targets:

  • SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, is the leading focus among the Top 100, led by companies headquartered in Asia, including Samsung (1), Toyota Motor (3), and LG Chem (5).
  • SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being, follows, with Johnson & Johnson (2), Roche (9), and Samsung (1) leading the pack. For SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy, the strongest Top 100 company patents cover electric and hybrid vehicles, energy efficiency, blockchain, and the Internet of Things, with top contributions from Toyota Motor (3), State Grid (8), and General Electric (7).

Regional patterns:

  • While the S. ranks higher than any other country with 33 patent owners in the Top 100, Asia is the best-represented region with 44 companies in the Top 100.
  • Regional patterns can reflect domestic economic and policy priorities. The U.S. dominates Pharmaceuticals representation in the Top 100, while Japan’s strong showing could be due to initiatives like the Japan SDGs Awards and SDG Future Cities.

Industry focus areas:

  • Two industries are tied for most patent owners in the Top 100—Pharmaceuticals and Chemicals and Materials—followed by the Automotive, Information Technologies, Electronics, and Engineering industries. The Pharmaceutical industry also topped the list of the 100 most innovative companies in the LexisNexis® 2023 Innovation Momentum report.
  • While it contributes relatively few owners overall, Electronics industry portfolios from companies like Samsung (1), LG Electronics (13), and Apple (17) stand out as the top performer in SDG-related patent quality, showing the significance of semiconductors for addressing climate change and digital transformation.
  • Chemicals and Materials industry developments indicate that the transition to electric vehicles is driving progress among top performers like LG Chem (5).
  • Despite the urgency to reduce emissions, many in the Automotive industry have not increased their SDG-related patent holdings in recent years. Japan’s Toyota Motor (3) has the industry’s largest SDG-related patent portfolio, while U.S.-based Ford (12) and General Motors (23) perform well on patent quality.

Patents and the SDGs: an objective window into environmental and social progress

With 169 SDG targets recognized by the UN and 231 progress indicators, the Goals are more precise and universally accepted than other environmental, social, and governance (ESG) frameworks. The patent system empowers companies to place bets on new solutions, recognizing that breakthrough innovations can rapidly advance progress toward the Goals.

Taken together, SDG indicators and patent data provide a uniquely data-based perspective on the future of environmentally responsible, inclusive innovation. By bringing clarity to the state of sustainable technology development, “Exploring the Global Sustainable Innovation Landscape: The Top 100 Companies and Beyond” empowers companies, organizations, and stakeholders to benchmark their progress and take bold new actions toward achieving the SDGs by 2030.

To understand how patents map to the SDGs, which SDGs the Top 100 companies are contributing toward, and more, click here.

About the ranking methodology

The report’s novel ranking methodology unlocks sustainability insights within hundreds of thousands of patents held by companies and millions of applications. The experts at LexisNexis analyzed UN documentation on the SDGs and the related targets and indicators and then mapped the 13 technology-driven Goals onto the LexisNexis patent database. As studies show that only a small proportion of patents are exploited commercially, it is important not only to count patents but also to assess their ability to lead to further inventions and applied technologies. To obtain a qualitative overview of SDG-related patent portfolios, the report’s authors then used the Patent Asset Index, a widely accepted evaluation methodology featured in the PatentSight® platform, to measure patent families based on their technology relevance and the market coverage of their protection. The result is a ranking of the Top 100 (with the Top 300 available to view online), industry deep dives, and in-depth analysis on specific SDGs along with visualizations illustrating the SDG-relevant patent landscape, Patent-to-SDG mapping, and the Patent Asset Index. It also shows how corporations and governmental bodies alike can leverage patent analytics to accelerate sustainable innovation.

About LexisNexis® Legal & Professional

LexisNexis® Legal & Professional is a leading global provider of legal, regulatory, and business information and analytics that helps customers increase productivity, improve decision-making and outcomes, and advance the rule of law around the world. As a digital pioneer, the company was the first to bring legal and business information online with its Lexis® and Nexis® services. LexisNexis Legal & Professional, which serves customers in more than 150 countries with 10,500 employees worldwide, is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.

About LexisNexis® Intellectual Property Solutions

LexisNexis® Intellectual Property Solutions bring clarity to innovation for businesses worldwide. We enable innovators to accomplish more by helping them make informed decisions, be more productive, comply with regulations, and ultimately achieve competitive advantage for their business. Our broad suite of workflow and analytics solutions (LexisNexis® PatentSight®, LexisNexis Cipher™, LexisNexis® IPlytics™, LexisNexis PatentOptimizer®, LexisNexis PatentAdvisor®, and LexisNexis TotalPatent One®, LexisNexis® IP DataDirect), enables companies to be more efficient and effective at bringing meaningful innovations to our world. We are proud to directly support and serve these innovators in their endeavors to better humankind.

Media contacts: Jessica Morel, LexisNexis Intellectual Property Solutions, [email protected], +1 267-965-1334; Katie Helander, Account Manager, The Bulleit Group, [email protected]

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