The move toward sustainability is upending the old ways of doing business. These days, less really is more, says David J. Vidal.Dario Pignatelli / Bloomberg via Getty Images
The results of the 2012 Green Brands survey compare companies on the basis of their ‘green’ reputation among consumers.
As government efforts slow, our annual rankings show which companies are still carrying the eco-mantle.
When Newsweek ran its first Green Rankings two years ago, climate change was high on the agenda. The U.S. House had passed a cap-and-trade bill to put a price on carbon, and the world’s biggest economies were about to make history with an agreement to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. Since then, green momentum has seriously stalled, at least in the public sector. The U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen at the end of 2009 ended without an agreement, and climate science in the U.
It's not just about being a do-gooder. Cary Krosinsky reports that companies--and the investors who follow them--make out like bandits when they're environmentally responsible.
Many would agree that we are entering a world of peak oil and rising energy prices. There are pending fresh water and food shortages and price increases in many parts of the world, coupled with theoretically unsustainable—yet inevitable—increases in population. Other effects of climate change threaten, from warming seas to shortages of arable land and biodiversity loss. Yet the majority of investors do not take such things into consideration.
European corporations continue to beat American companies when it comes to environmental responsibility. Is the difference cultural--or regulatory? By Heather Lang
This year’s expansion of the Green Rankings to include the top 500 global companies presents a timely opportunity to reflect on some compelling regional trends. Is the same value assigned to being “green” in Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific? What are the key sustainability drivers for companies in each of these regions? Ultimately, which countries are taking the lead? Though sustainability has gained prominence worldwide, there are some noteworthy regional distinctions.
The green game changes so quickly that today's top environmental companies could be surpassed in a heartbeat. John Elkington on the race to sustainability.
When it comes to going green, a decade can be an eternity. So, as I join my colleagues on Newsweek’s advisory group for Green Rankings in celebrating the achievements of the leaders spotlighted in the 2011 surveys, I can’t help wondering who will be in the top slot ten years from now, in 2021, or even 2031? Don’t get me wrong. Having worked in the field of what is now labeled sustainability for four decades, it has been extraordinary to see what some of the world’s biggest publicly traded companies have done to become more transparent; shrink their environmental footprints; perform against the triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental value-added; and link their brands to powerful social causes.
Frequently asked questions about our exclusive environmental rankings and how we created them.
What is unique about the Newsweek Green Rankings?The Green Rankings comprehensively assess the environmental performance of the largest publicly traded companies in America and around the world. Published annually since 2009, this project is the first effort by a major media organization to rank companies based on their actual environmental footprint, management of that footprint, and sustainability communications. The rankings provide a reliable, cross-industry framework for comparing the environmental commitment and performance of major companies.
A really green design is more than just less wasteful—it can sell the whole idea of eco-consciousness. From a "re-case" iPhone case to a surf fin made from reclaimed ocean debris, see photos of environmentally friendly products that will make everybody want to go green.
Inside NEWSWEEK's exclusive rankings of the world's most environmentally friendly companies
When Jeff Swartz, CEO of Timberland, was buying computers for his footwear-and-apparel company a few years ago, he had questions for a salesman from Dell. “I told him that part of how we decide is based on environmental stewardship,” recalls Swartz. “The salesman said, ‘Our founder is very serious about running our business that way. I’ll ask him to call you.’?” Right, thought Swartz. Michael Dell is going to call me.But that’s exactly what happened.
The Copenhagen climate talks failed, the U.S. Senate punted—but all is not lost when it comes to greenhouse reductions.
When President Obama announced plans this month to install solar panels on the White House, it wasn’t because any law required it; it was to set an example. When the U.S. military began using solar panels in Afghanistan, it wasn’t to avoid paying a carbon tax; it was because it costs $400 to $500 a barrel to transport diesel to bases there, and because hundreds of soldiers have died guarding supply lines. And when DuPont cut its energy use to 19 percent below what it was in 1990, says Linda Fisher, the company’s chief sustainability officer, by turning waste into fuel, making burners more efficient, and other steps, it wasn’t to stay on the right side of a cap-and-trade law.
Cap-and-trade's political death leaves room for new proposals on Capitol Hill.
In the 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore told audience after audience that our climate was changing at a dangerous pace. At stake was our "ability to live on planet Earth, to have a future as a civilization." And it was hard not to believe the man in a film labeled "the most terrifying film you will ever see." But four years after the documentary's release, little has changed in the one place where change is supposed to happen: Capitol Hill.
GoodGuide’s mission is to help shoppers pick the greenest shampoo or toothpaste. But is that a business?
One sunny morning in 2004, Dara O’Rourke was putting sunscreen on his 2-year-old daughter’s face when he had a disturbing thought. As a professor of environmental policy at the University of California, Berkeley, he’d spent years studying the global supply chains for products like electronics and shoes. But he had no idea exactly what he was smearing on his daughter.The thought spurred O’Rourke—who’d made headlines in 1997 for exposing problems with Nike’s labor practices—to action.
The stories of thoughtful citizens who are trying to make great green ideas a reality.
At the first Earth Day protest in 1970, Margaret Mead, the American Anthropologist and proto-environmentalist, issued a call to action: “We have to learn to cherish this earth and cherish it as something that’s fragile, that’s only one, it’s all we have. We have to use our scientific knowledge to correct the dangers that have come from science and technology.” Back in those early days—long before we began driving hybrid cars and politicians started using words like “sustainability” and “carbon footprint” to win elections—Mead and her Earth Day comrades were on the fringe.
How we calculated this year’s Green Rankings.
Frequently asked questions about our fourth annual environmental ranking.
As part of a continued effort to improve our transparency, we are providing a deeper dive into scoring.
Back in June, Newsweek and its research partners presented an online workshop about the methodology behind Green Rankings. Re-watch it here.
How green is a smartphone? Andrew Blum looked into the iPhone—and it turns out the news is good.
An in-depth look at each of the 20 industry sectors.
Companies ignore the magnitude of their supply-chain environmental impacts—and the environmental and financial risks and opportunities that they represent—at their own peril, writes James Salo.
Changes in ranking methodology have led to a shakeup in the results, and have brought welcome transparency and empiricism to a complicated analysis. John Elkington reports.
Many firms that rank high on environmental lists also lobby for non-green policies, say Aaron Chatterji and Michael Toffel.
Even companies with broad and aggressive environmental commitments are neglecting a core component of sustainability: worker health and safety. Heather Lang reports.
The move toward sustainability is upending the old ways of doing business. These days, less really is more, says David J. Vidal.
Several notable companies moved up or down in the rankings since 2011.
We are offering a new rating option for companies not eligible for our U.S. and Global 500 lists.