Toyota has retained its top position in a new report identifying global brands that have had the most success in marketing their sustainability efforts and establishing a green reputation.
Marketing consultancy Interbrand today launched its second annual study assessing the green credentials of the top 100 companies in its annual Best Global Brands report. The ranking is based on analysis by consultancy giant Deloitte of companies' actual sustainability efforts that is then compared with how they are perceived by consumers, based on a global survey of 10,000 people.
Automotive and technology brands dominated the 2012 rankings, with Toyota retaining the top spot from last year as a result of its flagship hybrid Prius model and efforts to reduce waste sent to landfill.
Honda, Volkswagen and BMW also appeared in the top 10, while Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and Nissan were ranked in the top 50, suggesting automotive brands' investment in developing and marketing fuel-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles is paying off.
Meanwhile, Panasonic jumped four spots to number six, HP retained its position at number five, while Siemens came in at number eight, falling five places from last year.
Photo of Toyota car provided by warmer/Shutterstock
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However, Toyota and Honda, the two highest-ranked automotive brands, were given a negative score when measuring the gap between perception and performance. Toyota recorded a score of minus 2.6, and Honda scored minus 0.4, suggesting consumers perceive the brands to be more sustainable than they actually are.
In contrast, HP recorded a positive score of 11.7, Panasonic scored 16.7, and Siemens scored 16.9, suggesting the companies are not doing enough to promote their green credentials.
Jez Frampton, chief executive of Interbrand, said the survey showed it was becoming increasingly important for companies to strike the right balance when promoting their green activities.
"Sustainability has proven to be a strategic and profitable aspect of business and a brand-strengthening asset," he said. "It is crucial that consumers' impressions of a brand are in close alignment with that brand's actual environmental performance.
"Otherwise, a brand's efforts in this area could serve as an under-utilised asset, or, conversely, suffer due to accusations of 'greenwashing'."
Nissan appeared on the ranking for the first time, at number 21, after launching its Leaf zero-emission electric car, while clothing retailer H&M was also a new entrant largely as a result of its "Conscious Collection," a branded apparel line made using sustainable materials.
Starbucks was one of the biggest risers, jumping six spots to number 36 since 2011, after announcing it has started purchasing 50 per cent of its energy from renewable sources through renewable energy certificates and has launched energy and water conservation strategies.
This article was reprinted from Business Green with permission.