Despite a weak economy, government inaction and the failure of a comprehensive climate change agreement many of the globe’s big companies continue to move forward with sustainable initiatives.
“Big companies have decided that this is a long-term play,” says Thomas Lyon, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.
Corporate executives see value in efficiency and minimizing waste. Cutting greenhouse gases can also improve the bottom line. Companies see the wisdom of managing resources and some are even preparing to benefit from resource scarcity.
Here is a list of the world’s greenest companies according to Newsweek’s Global 2011 Green Rankings, which were compiled in cooperation with Trucost and Sustainalytics, two leading environmental-research firms. Their assessments of the environmental footprints of the world’s largest companies included greenhouse-gas emissions, water use, reporting, transparency, environmental policies programs and initiatives.
Financial companies dominate the list because they have a relatively small footprint to begin with. IBM is second on the global list followed by a number of European companies. Due largely to Europe’s tighter regulatory environment, European companies dominate when it comes to transparent disclosure. In addition to the US and Europe, leading firms come from Australia, Brazil, India, Canada, Japan, and Mexico.
“We’ve been presented with a false choice: either great economic performance or great environmental performance,” says GE’s Mark Vachon. “But through innovation, we can solve both challenges.”
Here is the list of the top 25 greenest firms in the world including the country of origin and the sector in which they operate.
1 Munich Re – Germany – Financials
2 IBM – United States – Information Technology & Services
3 National Australia Bank – Australia – Financials
4 Bradesco – Brazil – Financials
5 ANZ Banking Group – Australia – Financials
6 BT Group – United Kingdom – Telecommunications
7 Tata Consultancy Services – India – Information Technology & Services
8 Infosys – India – Information Technology & Services
9 Philips – Netherlands – Capital Goods
10 Swisscom – Switzerland – Telecommunications
11 Societe Generale – France – Financials
12 Bell Canada Enterprises – Canada – Telecommunications
13 Fujitsu – Japan – Technology Equipment
14 Wal-Mart de Mexico – Mexico – Retailers
15 Hewlett-Packard – United States – Technology Equipment
16 Sprint Nextel – United States – Telecommunications
17 Santander – Brazil – Financials
18 Westpac Banking- Australia – Financials
19 RBS – United Kingdom – Financials
20 SAP – Germany – Information Technology & Services
21 Nokia – Finland – Technology Equipment
22 Samsung – Korea, Republic Of – Technology Equipment
23 Telecom Italia – Italy – Telecommunications
24 Baxter – United States – Healthcare
25 Dell – United States – Technology Equipment