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Car brands top green rankings

Our way or the hybrid way: Interbrand is impressed with Toyota’s “sustainability leadership” and how Prius means hybrid for many consumers.

Toyota tops 2012 Best Global Green Brand survey as car-makers dominate

23 Jul 2012

CARS may take much of the blame – rightly or wrongly – for the world’s environmental problems, but car-makers have dominated an independent ranking of global brands for their ‘green’ credentials.

Toyota topped the Best Global Green Brand for the second year running, while no fewer than eight of the 21 top-ranked global brands are car companies.

Honda was ranked third in the second annual poll produced by leading brand consultancy Interbrand, while Volkswagen placed fourth and BMW rounded out the top 10.

Ford was ranked 15th, just ahead of Mercedes-Benz in 16th and Hyundai in 17th, while Nissan – with a new six-year environment action plan – entered the survey’s Top 50 in 21st position.

Interbrand chief executive Jez Frampton said the survey – based on consumer research and performance data provided by Deloitte – aims to distinguish the brands that perform in the arena of sustainability from those with empty promises designed to create a perception of environmental consciousness.

“These two critical halves – performance and perception – make up the whole of a green company: one that operates sustainably and has built a positive image that can be leveraged to strengthen brand value,” he said.

 center imageFrom top: Honda Fit EV Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion.

“The best green brands … have a proven record of performance, strive to operate with transparency and they practice what they preach when it comes to sustainability.

“Sustainability has proven to be a strategic and profitable aspect of business and a brand-strengthening asset.

“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.”

Interbrand says the investment by automotive brands in developing and marketing fuel-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles is paying off – both in terms of performance and perception.

It said that, with long-term goals around fuel efficiency, superior energy use and the reduction of toxic emissions, the automotive industry has been able to turn such consideration points into areas of environmental leadership.

Interbrand praised Toyota for continuing to demonstrate “unparalleled sustainability leadership”.

“Overall, environmental sustainability is deeply ingrained in the company’s culture and has been a core management priority since the early 1990s,” says the report.

“Since then, Toyota’s dedication to sustainability has kept them ahead of the clean-vehicle trend and resulted in steady improvements in energy use, water consumption, waste and toxic emissions year after year.

“Always looking ahead, Toyota continues to embark on company-wide initiatives to improve environmental performance and builds on its reputation for cutting-edge eco vehicle development through innovation, key partnerships and strategic campaigns.

“Toyota benefits from a powerful halo effect generated by the success and long-term visibility of the Prius, which in many people’s minds has become synonymous with the term ‘hybrid’.

“However, Toyota’s outstanding performance on all levels proves that sustainability isn’t just about winning hearts and moving product – it’s a winning way of doing business.”

Interbrand said Honda had in the past year “reduced the discrepancy between its overwhelmingly positive publicity and actual performance”.

The organisation said Honda will launch the Fit (Jazz) EV in 2013 that will support a faster and more enduring battery charge, and had hit its zero-landfill goal in North America, continued to develop methods to diminish waste throughout the product lifecycle, publicises an ecological evaluation of its suppliers and consistently tops lists for low emission ratings and non-toxic design measures.

Volkswagen was described as one of the world’s most innovative and sustainable car manufacturers, and its goal of becoming the world’s most profitable, fascinating and sustainable automobile company by 2018 was “being constantly substantiated”.

“Incorporating sustainability into its value chain, increasing fuel efficiency for every new vehicle generation by 10 to 15 per cent, pushing hybrid and electric vehicles and committing to making production facilities 25 per cent greener within the next six years are just some of the initiatives that demonstrate ambitious goals and measurable proof points,” said Interbrand.

It said Volkswagen backs these goals with large-scale investments, including $US700 million towards the expansion of renewable energy plants, and the appointment of a chief officer specifically responsible for the environment and energy.

2012 Best Global Green Brands – Top 10
2Johnson & Johnson
3 Honda

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