Newsweek's 2011 Green Rankings Are Out

Newsweek Green Rankings photo

Image via The Daily Beast

Newsweek has been releasing a green ranking of America's and the world's biggest companies for a few years now, and the 2011 results are in.The Top-Ranked Green Companies:
In the U.S.: IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Sprint Nextel, Baxter, Dell, Johnson & Johnson, Accenture, Office Depot, CA Technologies, and Nvidia.

Globally: Munich Re, IBM, National Australia Bank, Banco Bradesco, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group, BT Group, Tata Consultancy, Infosys, Philips Electronics, and Swisscom.

The rankings are based on an environmental impact score, which comprises 45 percent of the total, an environmental management score (another 45 percent), and an environmental disclosure score (10 percent).

Looking Deeper
While Newsweek releases these green rankings every year, GreenBiz takes an interesting look at why this year is different and the results shouldn't necessarily be compared to last year's.

In addition to the expanded scope—500 global companies were ranked this year, up from 100—and Newsweek operating under completely different management, GreenBiz points out a few major changes in how the rankings were decided:

  • MSCI, a provider of decision support tools to investment institutions, opted out of the 2011 rankings after participating the first two years. It was replaced by Sustainalytics, bringing a new set of criteria and analysis to the rankings.

  • This year's disclosure score replaced a "reputation survey score" used during the two previous years, which was based on an opinion survey of corporate social-responsibility professionals, academics, and other environmental experts. That means this year's analysis is largely devoid of thought-leader opinion about companies, focusing instead on more tangible measures of performance.

  • This year's overall "green scores" are displayed as an absolute number rather than a relative one. In the past, the top company received a score of 100, with all other companies' scores shown relative to that. Now, the green score is a raw score. Under the new methodology, a rating of 100 would apply only to a company that received a perfect score. This year, the green score for IBM, which topped the 2011 U.S. rankings, was 82.5%.

For some companies, little will change. For others, the new methodology will be significant, for better or worse: Nike, for example, fell from #10 last year to #243 this year. Coca Cola and Pacific Gas & Electric also fell quite a bit.

But overall, GreenBiz concludes, the new methodology is improved and "should sharpen scores and enhance comparability going forward."

More on Newsweek's Green Rankings:
Newsweek Releases a Green Ranking of America's Biggest Companies
Newsweek's Green Ranking: Who Topped the List?
Newsweek Ranks America's Greenest Companies

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