Newsweek's 2012 Green Rankings: This time it's serious

But companies aren’t necessarily disclosing what’s important: The most commonly reported metric was aviation travel — essentially employee air flights. “When you get beyond that you only have about 36 companies that are disclosing information on the environmental impacts of their goods and services that they purchase from other companies," said Salo. "Only six companies in the rankings this year provided some information on the impacts of their investments. And only one of those six was a financial institution. If you’re looking at an area that needs more work, it’s in the financial institution field building up more disclosure on the impact of investments.”

One other interesting note: Of the top 100 companies in the U.S. rankings, 48 of them are based in three states: California (26 companies), New York (16), and Massachusetts (6).

Why? It’s hard to know. All three have innovation clusters, often centered around universities. All three have clean- and green-minded state governments. And all three have strong technology clusters, which generally did well in Newsweek’s rankings.

There’s a new service this year offered by Newsweek and its partners: an “opt-in” feature that allows companies not currently ranked on either the U.S. or global lists lists to be put through the process. The new service “is essentially providing companies with the ability to be evaluated in the same way that we do the Green Rankings to get the scores that are directly comparable to any other company in their U.S. 500 and global 500 lists,” explains Ian Yarret, the Newsweek editor who oversees the Green Rankings.

Companies that “opt in” will receive a set of scores for each of the three components, as well as an overall Green Score, along with some benchmarking data.

All of that will set you back $15,000. The data won’t appear in Newsweek, or anywhere else, unless you publish it yourself. It seems you can only opt in so far.