Top Ten Green Brands & Scores
|1 ||Toyota ||64.19 |
|2 ||3M ||63.33 |
|3 ||Siemens ||63.08 |
|4 ||Johnson & Johnson ||59.41 |
|5 ||HP ||59.41 |
|6 ||VW ||58.90 |
|7 ||Honda ||58.90 |
|8 ||Dell ||58.81 |
|9 ||Cisco ||57.66 |
|10 ||Panasonic ||57.32 |
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Best Global Brands
Best Global Brands is our annual study of the world’s most valuable brands.
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Reading between the gaps
A number of brands on the Best Global Green Brands table show large gaps between performance and perception. For example, L'Oréal, Nokia, HSBC all scored significantly higher in performance than perception, suggesting that while they are all doing great things internally in terms of environmental sustainability, they are still not yet communicating their efforts to consumers as clearly as they could. L'Oréal, in particular, with a gap of 22.68 should focus on communicating its impressive performance beyond just its stakeholders – particularly its efficient energy and water consumption and emphasis on fair trade. Similarly, Nokia could be using its green activities to create meaningful connections with customers, as it continues to struggle with finding relevance in an increasingly competitive market. HSBC, which has no green branding to rally its efforts in climate change despite its good work in the area, could focus on the same.
McDonald’s, GE, and Coca-Cola, on the other hand, all scored significantly higher in perception than performance. The big gap in perception and performance for brands that are closer to the top of Interbrand’s Best Global Brands list suggests that highly visible top 10 brands like McDonald’s, GE, and Coca-Cola enjoy the positive impact of being a well-known, powerful brand, with green perception matching general perception overall. It also suggests that McDonald’s use of the color green has given consumers the perception that it is focusing more on environmental sustainability than reality. Meanwhile, GE’s gap of -23.17 suggests that while its ecomagination campaign was extremely successful in positioning the brand as environmentally sustainable, now the brand has a great deal to live up to. In particular, it needs to start thinking beyond just products and services, and begin taking a look at areas like transportation and logistics, where it lags. Coca-Cola's -19.61 gap in perception and performance suggests that it too has a great deal to live up to in terms of performance, as its branding of its sustainability efforts is clearly positioning the brand well. In the future, it may see challenges in managing expectations of its green performance.
Transparency and performance
It is important to note the central role that transparency plays in the table. Whereas some brands, like L'Oréal, are completely transparent about their work around environmental sustainability (which is one contribution to their high performance score), others, like Coca-Cola and Google, withhold a great deal of information (which may have impacted their performance score negatively). So, why do some companies opt for full transparency, while others continue to keep some of their work in this area to themselves?
In the case of L'Oréal, full transparency is likely a move to appease stakeholders. At the same time, however, it would serve the brand well to take the next step and communicate beyond just stakeholders to consumers too.
In the case of Coca-Cola and Google, which withhold a great deal about their performance, the goal may be to maintain a competitive advantage. Coca-Cola and Google are both innovating tremendously around environmental sustainability and reducing overhead considerably as a result. Sharing this knowledge would mean that competitors could potentially make the same corrections and see the same advantages. Indeed, Heinz’s move to license Coca-Cola’s plant bottle technology and Ford’s move to partner with Google on a prediction API to enhance hybrid efficiency may suggest that their work in this area is likely perceived as a valuable commodity by other brands.
Environmental sustainability: perception scores by country
Interestingly enough, Interbrand’s perception analysis reveals that expectations of brands in China are quite high. Indeed, brands received high scores green perception scores from this region. Closely following is India. Then Spain, Italy, the U.S., France, the U.K., and Germany. This pattern suggests that where green is a part of everyday life – for example, Germany, where green is regulated and mandated by the government and deeply ingrained in its citizens’ lifestyles – brands have more to live up to in terms of environmental sustainability. Conversely, in countries where green is a relatively new practice – China and India – consumers tend to rate brands higher in terms of green activity, as it activities in this area are less expected.
Environmental sustainability: perception scores by sector
As a whole, automotive brands received fairly high perception scores in comparison to their performance scores. This is likely because the automotive industry has been active in brand building in this area, showcasing hybrid models and additional products. Meanwhile, on average, electronics brands tend to score lower in perception than they do in performance, which suggests that they need to focus more on showcasing their green work.