Sustainability alone doesn't make for a green brand. It's also about participation and collective action. Interbrand takes both aspects into account in its fourth annual list of the top 50 global corporate green brands. As in the past three years of the report, the top brands are automakers. Ironically, it is carmakers that the company says have focused on sustainable technology, green materials, better corporate oversight and communications.
For the past three years, Toyota has been number one. This year, however, it's Ford. The firm says the automaker wins because of its environmental action committees; employee engagement around sustainability; emissions, energy and water initiatives; green build policies; and waste recycling.
Said Interbrand CEO Jez Frampton in his intro to the report, Ford is "efficient, visionary, flexible, adept at problem-solving, cooperative, and focused on creating shared value." He noted the company's concept solar-powered vehicle, the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept, and partnering with peers across sectors on things like bio-plastic made out of tomato fiber with Heinz. "Ford is showing us what’s possible."
Auto and technology brands are nearly half of the top 50 brands: Ten are auto brands; 12 are tech companies. Toyota is second this year, followed by Honda and Nissan. Number three last year was Panasonic. So Nissan has moved up a notch, while Panasonic has moved to five. Rounding out the top ten are Nokia at 6th, followed by Sony, Adidas, Danone and Dell.
Volkswagen last year was at number 7, but has dropped to 16 -- now behind BMW at 13. Mercedes-Benz is 24th, Chevrolet -- new to the list -- is 32nd, Kia is 35th, and Hyundai is 40th. Also new to the list are Disney and Heineken at 49 and 50, respectively.
Interbrand took nominees from its annual Best Global Brands report of the 100 most valuable global brands, and tapped Deloitte to analyze data, get insights, and interview industry leaders on which companies' business approaches created long-term value.
According to the firm, the scores are based on a performance score derived from Deloitte's analysis based on public reports of each brand around governance, stakeholder engagement, operations, supply chain, transport and logistics, products and services, minus a perception score from surveys of over 10,000 consumers in the 10 top global markets in GDP.
“An effective way to close the gap is for companies to invest in sustainability initiatives and programs that become inextricably a part of their brands’ DNA,” said Will Sarni, director of Deloitte Consulting LLP, in a statement. “As companies work to improve their environmental sustainability performance, it is imperative that they communicate their efforts and engage with the public and other stakeholders through reporting and disclosure."