Among the companies singled out by the Guardian and the Soyka study:
- U.S. home appliance-maker Whirlpool (NYSE: WHR), which moved from a 28th place tie in the GEMS rankings two years ago to second place this year for demonstrating strong improvements in environmental management practices.
- European carpet and sports surfaces manufacturer Desso in the Guardian's waste and recycling category for creating products that are completely biodegradable, as well as products that can be recycled to provide new materials.
- SABMiller, (LSE: SAB) one of the world’s largest beer brewers and bottlers of Coca-Cola products, for dramatically reducing its overall water consumption.
- Some firms that did not score any points in the last GEMS rankings are now reporting "meaningful" environmental information, according to Soyka. Those companies include Regions Financial (NYSE: RF), Diebold (NYSE: DBD), Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM), Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ: AKAM), and Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF).
- Sainsbury’s Supermarkets (LSE:SBRY) won both the energy category in the Guardian awards for the world’s first smart grid-ready supermarket, and in the carbon category for its Carbon Footprint Initiative which worked with over 2,600 farmers to cut costs and their overall carbon emissions.
The Guardian's 2012 overall winner as well as the winner in its biodiversity category was Puma. The German sport and lifestyle company got top honors for its environmental profit and loss account (EP&L).
First published in late 2011, the EP&L was honored by the Guardian judges as a "truly pioneering attempt to put a cost on the impact a business has on the environment across its entire supply chain -- providing lessons for the corporate world at large," the publication wrote on its website.