This was the general trend identified by eco-analysts at the Roberts Environmental Centre, California, in their latest look at how a particular sector performs.

The centre releases regular reports looking at the CSR performance of a wide range of industries, with each publication honing in on a particular sector or a closely related cluster of enterprises, grading companies from A+ to E-.

Reports measure environmental and environmental performance and stated aspirations as well as how well companies have done on achieving their goals.

The resulting data is used to give each firm an overall score.

For the second time running General Motors came top of the league, with Volkswagen rising through the ranks to come second – after lagging in the sixth spot last year.

VW also aced three of the six subcategories on which the results are based, coming first for environmental intent, social reporting transparency and social performance.

Fellow German giant DaimlerChrysler was the third and final company to receive the top A+ grade.

Interestingly while most of the Japanese megacorporations were surprisingly far down the table, Toyota topped the chart for environmental performance – in part thanks to the global success of its hybrid model, the Prius.

As a rule of thumb, the bigger companies tend to be better at implementing CSR programmes – and reporting on them – with the bottom of the table propped up by less well known names.

The lowest scores went to Lear (US), Magna International (Canada), and Koc Holding (Turkey), all with grades of D-.

Perhaps the most surprising finding of the research, however, was that the motor industry takes CSR issues more seriously than any other sector analysed by the centre, closely followed by the electronics and pharmaceutical sectors.

Medical products and equipment are bottom of the league, with colleges and universities just a few steps ahead of them.

Full details of the motor industry analysis, and that of other sectors, can be found on the Roberts Environmental Centre website.

Sam Bond

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie