Interbrand, one of the world’s leading brand consulting firms, released its 2012 Best Global Green Brands Report. Toyota (#1), Johnson & Johnson (#2) and Honda (#3) top the ranking with Danone (#9), Ford (#15), Starbucks (#36) and UPS (#43) representing this year’s top risers.
To make the top 50 Best Global Green Brands, organizations must perform well in two areas: sustainability performance and sustainability perception. Interbrand examines how a brand’s sustainability efforts are perceived by consumers. Each brand’s performance score is based on 82 individual sub-metrics across six key elements: governance, stakeholder engagement, operations, supply chain, transportation and logistics, and products and services. Each brand’s perception score is determined through a consumer study covering 10,000 respondents; 1,000 in each of the ten largest economies, including the US, Japan, China, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Brazil, India and Canada. Each brand is assessed by 1,250 consumers using Interbrand’s six external brand strength pillars: authenticity, relevance, differentiation, consistency, presence and understanding.
The Best Global Green Brand report’s overall scores are calculated by combining the standardized performance and perception scores. A discount factor is applied in those cases where positive perceptions of the brand outweigh a company’s actual green performance. The change in each brand’s overall score relative to its 2011 result determines the final ranking.
“Sustainability has proven to be a strategic and profitable aspect of business and a brand-strengthening asset,” said Jez Frampton, Global Chief Executive Officer of Interbrand. “It is crucial that consumers’ impressions of a brand are in close alignment with that brand’s actual environmental performance. Otherwise, a brand’s efforts in this area could serve as an under-utilized asset, or, conversely, suffer due to accusations of ‘greenwashing.’”
For 2012, automotive and technology brands govern the ranking. Toyota maintains its title as the number one global green brand, continuing to make environmental sustainability a core management priority. (Remember that little invention called the Prius?) In all, eight automotive brands appear in this year’s ranking, four of which reside in the top ten: Toyota (#1), Honda (#3), Volkswagen (#4), BMW(#10), Ford (#15), Mercedes-Benz (#16), Hyundai (#17) and Nissan (#21). Panasonic (#6), Dell (#7), Cisco (#11) and Apple (#13) round out the top technology brands.
What Interbrand refers to as “the gap” is the difference between a brand’s performance and perception scores. A positive gap indicates sustainability performance is actually higher than consumers perceive it to be. A negative gap indicates consumers perceive a brand to be more of a sustainable leader than it actually is.
David Pearson, global sustainability leader, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, enforced “It is becoming increasingly clear that sustainability is a ‘must have’ rather than a ‘nice to have’ for a lot of companies. It matters from a growth perspective; it matters from a cost and margin perspective; it matters from a brand value perspective. Closing the gap between sustainability performance and market perception is an incredibly important part of taking and continuing the sustainability
As far as who contributes the most, the United States (22 brands), Germany (seven brands) and Japan (seven brands) lead the world in green brand manufacturing and management.
For the full list of 2012 rankings, click here.
The 2011 rankings are available here.
Photo courtesy of Interbrand.