What Is sustainability?

Broadly speaking, sustainability can be defined as an ongoing effort to improve the quality of human life while living within the limits of supporting ecosystems. More specifically, sustainability requires the reconciliation of environmental, social equity, and economic demands known as the three pillars of sustainability. These three pillars, more popularly referred to as the “triple bottom line,” serve as the basis for various sustainability standards and certification systems and guide numerous organizations on the path to greener, more responsible ways of doing business.

In the context of the Best Global Green Brands report, sustainability can generally be defined as a business approach to creating long-term value by embracing opportunities and managing risks derived from economic, environmental, and social impacts. In a commercial sense, sustainability also involves creating and maintaining a product, service, or business identity that reflects special added value in terms of environmental and social benefits. Sustainability has proven to be a strategic and profitable aspect of business and a brand-strengthening asset, as long as organizations take measurable steps to reduce their social and environmental impact and credibly convey benefits that are relevant to consumers.

Interbrand believes that the Best Global Green Brands lie at the point where perception and performance meet. With this in mind, the methodology of Best Global Green Brands is based on assessing both market perception and actual environmental performance.


The nominees are drawn from Interbrand’s annual Best Global Brands report, which ranks the world’s 100 most valuable brands. Brands on this list have a global presence and a demonstrated record of delivering value to their stakeholders. Interbrand excludes any brands that are considered distinct from their corporate parent because environmental activities are normally reported at a corporate level, while consumers are generally aware of the market-facing brand.

methodology chart


Deloitte assesses each brand on 83 individual sub-metrics across six pillars — Governance, Stakeholder Engagement, Operations, Supply Chain, Transportation and Logistics, Products and Services. Data is collected from publicly available sources such as annual reports, companies’ sustainability/CSR reports, responses to CDP/WDP, and the Thomson Reuters ASSET4 database.

Performance Elements


Policies and mechanisms put in place by the company to manage environmental impacts and successfully set and execute environmental programs.


The company’s performance across operations as measured in energy efficiency, GHG emissions, water management, waste management, and toxic emissions management.

Transportation and Logistics

The company’s performance in measuring, reporting, and mitigating the environmental performance of their transportation and logistics, business travel, and commuting.

Stakeholder Engagement

The degree to which the company recognizes and engages with the various relevant stakeholder groups associated with the company.

Products and Services

The product portfolio of the company and an evaluation of the green attributes of its products, including product efficiency, sustainable production, and use of life cycle assessment.

Supply Chain

The company’s performance in measuring, reporting, and mitigating the environmental performance of their supply chain.


Interbrand conducts a survey in the 10 largest global economies (based on GDP), interviewing more than 10,000 consumers. Each brand is assessed by 1,250 consumers in terms of Authenticity, Relevance, Differentiation, Consistency, Presence, and Understanding of environmental claims. These six perception pillars are equivalent to the six external brand strength components used in Interbrand’s Brand Valuation model.
Interbrand weights the individual country brand scores according to GDP and sums them across all countries to calculate global green perception scores.

Perception Elements


The perceived credibility of the brand’s environmental claims.


How differentiated the brand’s green efforts are perceived to be relative to other competitors in the category.


An assessment of the relevance of brand’s environmental claims. This involves comparing the perceived importance of green activities for the category with the brand’s green perception.


The consistency of the brand's various green communications across all touchpoints.


The level of understanding of the brand’s green activities as a whole.


Consumer awareness of the brand’s green activities and its green reputation in the market.

Overall Ranking

The Best Global Green Brand report’s overall scores are calculated by combining the standardized performance and perception scores. A discount factor is applied in those cases where positive perceptions of the brand outweigh a company’s actual green performance. This is designed to account for the risk that brands are exposed to when their actions do not live up to public perceptions.

The final ranking is based on companies’ overall scores relative to other companies and previous years’ results. This ensures that brands are credited with prior years’ achievements and are credited with improvements to those achievements.

Interbrand also lists the gap between overall performance scores and overall perception scores. A positive score indicates a brand is doing more than it is given credit for, while a negative score indicates that a brand is being given more credit than its actions merit.