Toyota has been named best global green brand by Interbrand—the world’s largest brand consultancy—for the second year running. Automotive and technology brands dominate the 2012 rankings, with Honda, Volkswagen, BMW, Panasonic and Dell making the top 10. Eight automotive brands appear on the list of 50.
The Interbrand report examines the gap that exists between corporate environmental practices and consumer perception of those practices and ranks brands accordingly.
“As sustainability initiatives continue to gain relevance in the C-suite and with consumers, companies in all sectors are striving to strike a winning balance between building a green business and effectively communicating sustainable practices in the global marketplace,” the report states.
Toyota wins out once again due to it continued commitment to environmental sustainability. The Prius model has been expanded to encompass a family of sustainable automobiles, including the company’s first plug-in model, and this year, the report notes, Toyota also achieved near zero-landfill status at all of its North American manufacturing plants, and continues its commitment to build LEED certified buildings and dealerships.
In general, the study shows the automotive industry continues to lead the way towards a greener future with a dramatic reductions in toxic emissions and long-term fuel and energy efficiency goals.
Technology brands also came out on top in the report. Panasonic jumped four spots to sixth place with its investment in a wide range of green technologies, from consumer electronics to energy management systems.
Panasonic recently banded together with a handful of other companies to build an entire “eco-town” 50 km west of Tokyo. The town—built on an old Panasonic factory site—should be completed in 2014. The 1,000 household town will combine a variety of energy-saving, management, and storage technologies including solar power generation systems and household storage battery systems.
In retail, footwear, and apparel, H&M is a newcomer at number 46 on the list, in part due to its eco-friendly clothing line made using sustainable materials, but also because of its reduction in carbon emissions and improved disclosure of its activities and environmental impacts, the report states.
In 2011 H&M received a bounty of bad press from Green Peace over the pumping of chemical pollutants into Chinese rivers. H&M seems to have upped its game since then, promising to apply stricter controls on its supply chain and manufacturing facilities.
According to H&M’s Conscious Actions Sustainability Report, the company saved 300 million liters of water in 2011 compared to 2010, and increased the number of shoes it makes with water-based adhesives instead of solvents to over two million last year compared to 2010. That figure is set to grow to seven million in 2012, H&M claim.
Out of the 50 best global green brands, the U.S., Germany and Japan lead in terms of green manufacturing. Twenty-two of the 50 brands are manufactured and managed in the U.S.—among them Johnson & Johnson, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Cisco and 3M—while Japan and Germany dominated in automotive and high-tech.