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Toyota, Ford and Tech Companies Top List of ‘Best Global Green Brands’

Image credit: Interbrand

For the second year running, Toyota has topped Interbrand’s list of “Best Global Green Brands,” followed by Ford and Honda. Rounding out the rest of the top ten are Panasonic, Nissan, Johnson & Johnson, Volkswagen, Danone, Nokia and Dell. Overall, the technology sector clearly dominated.

The report examines the gap that exists between a corporation's environmental practices and consumers' perceptions of those practices. To complete the study, Interbrand conducted an evaluation of consumer perceptions of each brand in the 10 largest markets: US, Japan, China, Germany, France, UK, Italy, Brazil, Spain and India. Participants were asked how sustainability impacts their purchase decisions and their overall understanding and awareness of the brand’s green activities as a whole.

The rankings are based on quantitative performance scores derived from an analysis of publicly available information. Deloitte was engaged to develop an environmental sustainability performance methodology based on publicly available data as an input to Interbrand’s overall scoring methodology.

Some other key findings from the study include:

  • Innovation drives dominance of automotive brands — Automotive brands make up 50 percent of this year’s top ten. Collectively, the heavily regulated auto industry has effectively showcased its innovations and firm commitment to manufacturing vehicles in an increasingly sustainable way. Although most automotive brands have invested in meeting sustainability goals and complying with regulations, those brands that have invested in creating innovative products as evidence of their commitment to sustainability are receiving more recognition from consumers.
  • Sustainable fast fashion: adidas, Nike, H&M and ZARA are this year’s top apparel/retail brands — With the magnifying glass of social media hovering over apparel and retail brands, supply chain has graduated from a means of creating efficiency and lowering cost to a real indication of what these brands stands for. Now, more than ever before, such brands are being held responsible for the quality and safety of their factories around the world.
  • Top risers (by rank): Nissan, Ford, UPS & Nokia — Japanese automaker Nissan emerged as the top riser on this year’s report, moving up 16 places from #21 to break into the top 10. In 2012, Ford moved sustainability from the periphery to the center of its business strategy, resulting in its move up 13 spots to claim second place in this year’s report.

Nokia (#9) and UPS (#32) both jumped 11 places. For nearly a decade, corporate responsibility has been a focal point at Nokia, the Finnish multinational technology corporation. Moving up 11 places, UPS continues to explore new ways in which its knowledge of renewable energy and advanced fleet technology can be applied to every aspect of its business.

“What makes the annual Best Global Green Brands report unique and valuable is that it examines performance and perception in action,” said Jez Frampton, Global Chief Executive Officer of Interbrand. “The report provides leading brands with the insights they need to develop robust strategies — strategies that will not only drive their businesses forward, but also have a positive impact on the environment and communities in which those businesses operate.”

The automotive and technology industries also dominated last year’s Best Global Green Brands report, with Toyota, 3M and Siemens topping the list.

Note: Critics of these types of rankings question the methodology behind themassert that companies such as Shell should intuitively not be counted among the "best global green brands." The SB community shares this concern and is actively working to develop alternative frameworks and metrics for assessing companies' sustainability efforts — in fact, we convened key stakeholders during SB'13 to discuss the design of a better methodology. Stay tuned for details on the outcome of those conversations!

Mike Hower is Marketing Communications Manager at Carbon Lighthouse. With a background on both sides of the communications podium — as a journalist and strategic communicator — he is committed to helping organizations address climate change through sustainability innovation. Previously,… [Read more about Mike Hower]

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