IBM Tops US Companies in Newsweek’s 2011 Green Rankings

20 Oct

Swiss insurer Munich Re topped Newsweek’s Green Rankings this year, followed by US-based IBM. The world’s largest corporations on environmental performance, are rated.

The list of top five companies (globally) are:

  • Munich Re
  • IBM
  • National Australia Bank
  • Bradesco
  • ANZ Banking Group

According to the rankings, US companies trail in sustainability. Excluding IBM, the next US company is #15 in the list, that is Hewlett Packard. Relatively low impact industries, in term of environmental performance, like Sprint Nextel, Baxter, and Dell have rounded out top five US companies. The only retailer that has brought US into the top 10 is Office Depot.

Newsweek points out, “As government efforts slow, our annual rankings show which companies are still carrying the eco-mantle.”

The hundreds of companies Newsweek observes are collectively responsible for over 6 billion tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions each year, nearly equivalent to all the emissions produced annually by the US. If the emissions from using the products that many of them sell (For ex, energy used by the computers that Dell sells) are included, the number would be exponentially larger. Company leaders are reducing their operational impacts and they make more efficient products, magnifying the effects alone.

Here’s how Newsweek describes this year’s rankings:

Two years ago, when Newsweek ran its Green Rankings, the U.S. House had passed a cap-and-trade bill to put a price on carbon, and the world’s biggest economies were about to make history with an agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions in Copenhagen. A skeptical Congress, plus the on-going economic downturn, have made environmental regulations a tough sell.

Many of the world’s biggest companies await government regulation. But the top-ranked companies are approaching green projects with increasing tenacity, even in this weak economy.

Corporate executives consider only that waste is cut into profits, and that reducing wasted energy, for example, curbs greenhouse gas emissions while bolstering the bottom line. We are facing towards a future where resources that were once taken for granted like water, land, minerals, fossil fuels-will be limited and costly. Taking measures now to succeed in – and profit from – that difficult future could make all the difference.

“We don’t expect a clear-cut policy in the U.S. any time soon,” says Mark Vachon, who leads GE’s Ecomagination program (#63 on the U.S. list). “But that doesn’t mean we ought to put our pencils down. In fact, having business lead in this space might be exactly what we should do.”

Source: sustainablebusiness

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