Ford ranked top global green brand for 2014 as carmakers race ahead

Ford has taken the top spot from Toyota as the number one global green brand this year - with car makers claiming all top four positions - according to Interbrand's latest annual ranking table.

Toyota had held the top position since Interbrand’s Best Global Green Brands report debuted in 2011, but this year it fell to second place, with Honda third and Nissan fourth.

Apart from Ford, the biggest winners this year were Sony (7th) and Adidas (8th) who made it into the top ten for the first time, while IKEA and Zara were top risers – IKEA climbed 14 spots to number 19 while Zara climbed the same amount to claim 34th position. The biggest fallers were Johnson & Johnson who fell six places to 12th and Volkswagen who fell nine places to 16th.

Interestingly, automotive, electronic and technology brands occupy nearly 50% of the overall ranking – 10 brands hail from the automotive sector while 12 brands come from the electronics and technology industries. Panasonic, Nokia, Sony and Dell were all inside the top 10. The only top ten brand outside of these three sectors was Danone.

Within the automotive sector growing demand for electric vehicles is rising, forcing automakers to enter into this market and expand their product lines. Ford’s focus on this area – its portfolio includes five electric vehicles; two plug-in hybrids, two hybrids and one all-electric – together with targeted R&D on hydrogen and fuel cell technology earnt it a high score.


The company also utilises recyclable material in 41 different fabrics across different product lines with soybean-based foam cushions now a standard feature in its North American-made vehicles. This soybean initiative has saved Ford approximately 5 million pounds of petroleum annually.

Toyota continues to pioneer and innovate in the fuel-efficient automobile market with than two million hybrid vehicles in the US, more than any other automotive manufacturer. Honda meanwhile has remained transparent over the years about its sustainability efforts and, as a result, scored highly in regards to perception. In 2013, it earned one of the highest disclosure scores among all global companies in the CDP Global 500 Climate Change report.

The annual ranking report is considered highly credible as it examines the gap that exists between a brand’s environmental performance and consumers’ perceptions of that performance. Understanding this gap is considered vital to building brand value.

While the electronics and technology sectors represent nearly 25% of the overall ranking, brands within those two sectors also carry some of the largest gap scores, both positive and negative. This indicates that these brands need to need to do more around sustainability or work harder to improve consumer perceptions of those initiatives.

New entrants

Panasonic, ranked fifth as the leading electronics brand, was given a gap score of +13.9. The positive gap score indicates that its performance score is higher than its perception score. In other words, the brand is embracing opportunities to be more responsible brand, but it needs to take measurable steps to communicate its efforts to consumers.

This year the ranking table saw some new entrants – Chevrolet, Disney and Heineken entered into the report for the first time. Chevrolet, who entered at number 32, announced a major milestone, achieving seven million metric tonnes of carbon reduction.

Disney (number 49) is committed to minimizing its environmental footprint through a set of long-term goals first established in 2009 and remains transparent about its corporate citizenship efforts. And Heineken (number 50) is now three years into its sustainable strategy plan and has made good progress across four key focus areas – water, CO2, sourcing and responsible consumption.

On a less positive note, brands within the financial services sector are struggling to demonstrate sustainability leadership. Allianz and Citi both fell off this year’s ranking while AXA fell one place to number 45 position and Santander moved up two places to number 44.

Interbrand’s 2014 Best Global Green Brands

2014 rank             2013 rank                Brand                    2014 gap score

1                             2                             Ford                                      +3.2

2                             1                             Toyota                                 +0.3

3                             3                             Honda                                  +1.8

4                             5                             Nissan                                 +6.6

5                             4                             Panasonic                          +13.9

6                             9                             Nokia                                  +19.0

7                             11                           Sony                                   +10.7

8                             15                           adidas                                  +6.1

9                            8                              Danone                                -1.3

10                          10                           Dell                                      +6.9

11                          16                           Samsung                             +8.3

12                          6                             Johnson & Johnson             +2.8

13                          13                           BMW                                     +5.8

14                          23                          Philips                                  +5.4

15                          21                          Intel                                     +12.3

16                          7                             Volkswagen                       +3.0

17                          12                          HP                                          +9.7

18                          14                          Nestlé                                  +4.0

19                          33                          IKEA                                       -6.5

20                          19                          Coca-Cola                           -12.2

21                          22                          Apple                                   -1.1

22                          20                          L’Oréal                               +15.3

23                          25                          GE                                        -1.8

24                          17                          Mercedes-Benz                 +10.0

25                          27                          IBM                                   +10.9

26                          30                          Canon                                 +3.8

27                          29                          Xerox                                 +14.6

28                          32                          UPS                                     +6.3

29                          31                          Nike                                     -0.5

30                          26                          Pepsi                                   -2.3

31                          18                          Siemens                           +14.1

32                          NEW                      Chevrolet                            -2.9

33                          28                           Cisco                                +19.0

34                          48                          Zara                                    +4.7

35                          37                          Kia                                      +9.5

36                          24                          3M                                      +3.4

37                          36                          Starbucks                           -2.0

38                          38                          Kellogg’s                             -6.0

39                          42                          H&M                                    +4.7

40                          34                          Hyundai                              +7.2

41                          35                          Microsoft                             -9.1

42                          41                          Avon                                   +5.7

43                          47                          McDonald’s                       -14.5

44                          46                          Santander                           -0.9

45                          44                          AXA                                    +0.9

46                          39                          Caterpillar                          +3.1

47                          40                          Shell                                    -9.1

48                          50                          Colgate                               -7.0

49                          NEW                       Disney  Media                    -9.1

50                          NEW                       Heineken                           -1.5

Maxine Perella

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