Are top brands really sustainable or is it only perception?

Interbrand benchmarked multinationals on sustainability
Are top brands really sustainable or is it only  perception?
Publ. date 24 Aug 2011
Why are two engines better than one? Toyota shows with its full hybrid car that two engines are more silent, more powerful, cleaner, and - above all - more profitable. Since 1997, when the first version of the Prius was introduced, more than two million cars have been sold which, according to Toyota, results in savings of more than two million tons of CO2 per year. These and other actions have resulted in Toyota being chosen as the ‘best global green brand’.

Brand agency Interbrand has composed a top 50 of green multinationals. These top brands were analyzed on sustainability, measuring both brand perception and brand performance. Remarkably, the strongest brands not only accelerate on perception but are in perfect balance with their brand performance. Besides Toyota, the top 3 consists of 3M and Siemens.The differences between perception and performance on sustainability, are made clear in a sometimes painful way: consumers may see McDonalds, Coca-Cola and Ikea as sustainable brands, but their performance is lagging behind. Dutch brands Philips and Shell are positioned 32nd and 33rd in the ranking.

Perception and performance

Interbrand analyzes these global brands on several criteria related to sustainability. In the area of performance, these criteria are:  governance, operations, transport and logistics, stakeholder relationships and products and services. However, when it comes to perception, authenticity, distinction, relevance, consistency, understanding, and presence are the relevant measurements.

Rankings offer transparency to consumers and assist them in making choices more easily for a particular brand: a lot easier than for instance eco-labels do. On top of that, rankings contribute to increased competition and innovation, because companies want their brand to be in the top of the league. An innovative company is more capable of attracting and retaining both customers and employees.

NGO Solidar challenges top brand Nespresso with this parody on their famous George Clooney commericals

Rankings as internal driver

Over the last years Finch & Beak applied reputation- and performance rankings such as Reptrak to augment the internal awareness of sustainability demands within several organisations. For more information on speeding up the sustainability of your brand, please contact Josée van der Hoek, senior consultant, at or call +31 6 28 02 18 80.

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