Ford tops Interbrand’s 2014 Best Global Green Brands report list – knocking reigning champ Toyota, which held the top spot since the report was launched in 2011, down to #2. Fellow automakers Honda and Nissan claim the #3 and #4 spots, respectively, with Panasonic in fifth place — same as last year.
The report examines the gap between brands’ environmental performance and consumers' perceptions of that performance. Interbrand says Ford snagged the top spot thanks to a number of initiatives, including its:
- new environmental action committees
- improved employee engagement around sustainability
- better water/energy/emissions intensities
- enhanced green building policies
- increased waste recycling
- portfolio of five electric vehicles
- considerable effort into hydrogen and fuel cell research
- use of renewable/recyclable materials in 41 different fabrics across its different vehicle lines
“This year, the Best Global Green Brands report focuses on the power of participation and collective action,” said Jez Frampton, Interbrand’s Global Chief Executive Officer. “The report suggests that every constituency — businesses, consumers, employees, suppliers, governments and investors — will need to be engaged and willing to collaborate in order to take Corporate Citizenship and sustainability initiatives to the next level. We celebrate this year’s 50 Best Global Green Brands for having done exactly that and, in some cases, more.”
Some of the other key movement on the list includes:
Sony (#7) and adidas (#8) enter the top 10 for the first time, with adidas moving up seven places.
Philips moved up nine places to take the #14 spot; IKEA climbed 14 spots to reach the #19 position; Zara rose 14 spots to #34.
Johnson & Johnson falls six places to #12 and Volkswagen falls nine places to #16.
Chevrolet (#32), Disney (#49) and Heineken (#50) joined the ranking for the first time this year.
Nearly 50 percent of the ranking was occupied by automotive (10 brands), electronic & technology brands (12 brands).
Brands from the financial services sector didn't fare well: Allianz and Citi fell off this year’s ranking, while AXA dropped one place to take the #45 position and Santander moved up two places to #44.
The rankings are based on assessments of the 100 brands featured in Interbrand's annual Best Global Brands report. Brands that appear on this annual ranking are then studied through extensive consumer research to capture public perception of their sustainability practices, which is compared to environmental or sustainability performance data collected and analyzed by Deloitte Consulting LLP.
“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,” noted Will Sarni, director of Deloitte Consulting LLP and leader of the sustainability and enterprise water strategy practice in the US. “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. Simultaneously working to improve environmental performance and perception in the marketplace is key to enhancing business and brand value.”
While awash in positive news, Ford also recently faced a fine of $2.96 million by the California Air Resources Board for air-quality violations related to the sale of vehicles with non-compliant On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) systems in California.