From nice to have to must have: Interbrand’s best green brands list shows tech and auto dominating

Toyota has held onto its number spot in the 2012 rankings of Interbrand’s second Best Global Green Brands report,
but Johnson & Johnson isn’t far behind and Danone (#9), Ford (#15),
and Starbucks (#36) are rising fast, with tech and automotive brands

New high-profile alternative fuel vehicles from electric models to
hybrids have hit the market in recent times, and eight automotive brands
made it to the list: Toyota (#1), Honda (#3), Volkswagen (#4), BMW
(#10), Ford (#15), Mercedes-Benz (#16), Hyundai (#17), and Nissan
(#21). And hot on their heels were HP, Panasonic, Dell and Siemens, with
Cisco and Apple.

Deloitte global sustainability leader David
Pearson noted: “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

And Interbrand NZ managing director James Bickford said,
“If New Zealand wants to re-ignite its fading reputation for being
‘pure’ its brands need to start demonstrating their leadership in
sustainability and transparency. The ‘planet’ agenda is no longer a
governmental or cause-related issue it is a partnership in which brands
can lead and which the global community will judge our ‘pure’

The US, Germany and Japan lead in terms of manufacturing and managing
green brands, the US with 22 of them and Germany and Japan with seven

To make the top 50 Best Global Green Brands, organisations
must perform well in terms of both sustainability performance and
perception. Brands are measured against two sets of criteria.

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, and vice versa. This is based on its 2011 Best Global Brands
report, consumer research and performance data provided by Deloitte—data
based upon publicly available information.

As more companies wake up to the sustainability movement, ‘greenwashing’ is also becoming more common.

has proven to be a strategic and profitable aspect of business and a
brand-strengthening asset,” says Jez Frampton, Interbrand global choef
executive. “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-utilised asset, or, conversely, suffer due to accusations of

Among the key trends identified by Interbrand:

·         The rise of the millennials – how
young people are influencing the market, corporate and academic
recruiting and how top companies and universities are responding

·         The rise of the Good Corporation – companies
must understand where they sit and realise that they have influence,
which can be just as good for the bottom line as it is for a company’s

·         There is no silver bullet – businesses,
consumers and government will all have to contribute in order to build a
more sustainable world – but brands can play a big role.

·         The unintended consequences of prosperity – the way we have conducted business in the past is not sustainable.

·         The triple bottom line – sustainability is good for people, good for the planet and good for brands.

·         Change the story, change the system – There
is a need for a new way of thinking about sustainability, specifically
the need to move beyond functional silo thinking and adopt a broader,
more holistic view.

·         Small deeds, big changes - building
a sustainable brand begins with small steps. The problems are big, but
we can solve them through innovation, proper resource management and
strategic thinking.

·         Transparency – making
information public, letting people see inside your organisation, and
being forthright about your policies and operations builds trust.

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