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Top Environmentally Friendly Companies

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Eco-friendly Companies

Environmentally-friendly, also sometimes referred to as green, eco-friendly or sustainable companies are those organizations that proactively take measures to minimize the damage they cause to the environment, beyond what the law requires of them. Today, stakeholders such as companies' employees, suppliers, customers, and even chief executives are paying attention to the impact that companies have on the environment. And people are increasingly interested in knowing what companies are green… and which are not to help make purchase decisions.

There are multiple means by which companies are ranked and rated in terms of their environmental friendliness. Ratings are calculated by comparing carbon footprints, by analyzing how green programs get managed, and by comparing corporate sustainability or integrated reports. Although skeptics are weary of comparing data between companies in different sectors, of different sizes, and offering different services –I believe that by using the right data-driven methodology, such as that used by the Corporate Knights and Newsweek, it's as close as we can get to comparing different companies accurately and it’s important that it gets done. As the repository of green and sustainable companies grows, it will become increasingly easier to compare between different sectors, sizes, and services.

There are multiple rating systems or methodologies for measuring environmentally friendly companies. The most well known ratings include:

  • Newsweek "Green Rankings" – a global ranking focusing on the top 500 biggest global and the top 500 biggest American most environmentally-friendly companies.
  • Corporate Knights' "Global 100" Most Sustainable Corporations - a data driven ranking of the top 100 green companies in the world, announced annually at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. To get on the list, companies get screened according to their sustainability disclosure practices, financial health, product category, and financial sanctions.

This article takes a look at these two popular and credible rankings' Top 10 green companies.

Greenest Cosmetics Company

Looking to bring some green to your make-up routine? With all that excessive packaging and harmful chemicals found in much of our beauty products, I've also been on the hunt for a cosmetics company that causes the least damage to our environment. I hit a jackpot coming across Lush, a super cute company specializing in all natural products and focused on product packaging that causes the least damage to our environment.

List of Green Companies

Reviewing Newsweek’s 2011 Green Rankings, of global companies, the first thing that stuck out to me is that the highest ranked company hailing from the United States came in at No.2 (IBM). That’s not so bad considering factors like European companies having tight regulatory controls which essentially requires companies to be green by law.

German financial company Munich Re came in at No. 1 – a company in an industry that has a relatively low impact on the environment, carbon footprint and a limited supply chain. Noteworthy though, starting in 2011, Newsweek’s rankings have begun to take into consideration the investment portfolios of financial and insurance companies that potentially have damaging activities such as coal mining – so the lack of a supply chain isn't a golden pass to energy efficiency and conservation anymore.

Looking further down at the list, it’s evident that American companies are trailing other parts of the world in environmental friendliness.

Looking at the entire list of 500 companies, followed by IBM, the next American company doesn’t come in until No. 15 - Hewlett-Packard, then Sprint Nextel comes in at No. 16, followed by Baxter at # 24, Dell at No. 25 in the Top 25 Global Green Companies.

Reviewing Corporate Knights' list of the most sustainable companies in 2012, the first American company to show up on the list is Life Technologies, coming in at No. 16. Followed by Intel at No. 18, then comes Agilent Technologies all the way at No. 59 and Johnson Controls at No. 64, Procter & Gamble at No. 66, IBM at No. 69, Baxter International at No. 86, and lastly, Prologis comes in at No. 90 to round off the list of American companies considered the 100 most sustainable.

Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies Lists for 2011 & 2012

2011 Top 10 Green Companies globally, according to Newsweek2012 Top 10 Green Companies globally, According to the Corporate Knights

1. Munich Re, a German financial company

1. Novo Nordisk, a Danish company

2. IBM, an American IT and Services company

2. Natura Cosmeticos, a Brazilian company

3. National Australia Bank, an Australia financial company

3. Statoil, a Norwegian company

4. Bradesco, a Brazilian financial company

4. Novozymes, a Danish company

5. ANZ Banking Group, an Australian financial company

5. ASML Holding, a Dutch company

6. BT Group, a UK-based telecommunications company

6. BG Group, a UK-based company

7. Tata Consultancy Services, an Indian IT and Services company

7. Westpac Banking Corporation, an Australian company

8. Infosys, an Indian IT and Services company

8. Vivendi S.a., a French company

9. Philips, a Dutch goods company

9. Umicore S.a./n.v., a Belgian company

10. Swisscom, a Swiss telecommunications company

10. Norsk Hydro Asa, a Norwegian company

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Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies for 2013

On January 23, 2013, the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland announced this year's 100 most sustainable companies in the world (based on a range of sector-specific sustainability metrics).

Below is a list of the Top 10:

  1. Umicore, a Belgian company
  2. Natura Cosmeticos, a Brazilian company
  3. Statoil, a Norwegian company
  4. Neste Oil, a Finnish company
  5. Novo Nordisk, a Danish company
  6. Storebrand, another Norwegian company
  7. Koninklijke Philips Electronics, a Dutch company
  8. Biogen Idec Inc., an American company
  9. Dassault Systemes, a French company
  10. Westpac Banking Corp., an Australian company


Colin Garrow from Inverbervie, Scotland on June 20, 2015:

I think I'm fairly lucky in that my daytime job doesn't make much of an impact on the environment (I assess people for mobility aids etc). Surprising to see IBM so high up in these rankings, though - makes a nice change from some of the statistics we've seen in the past. Great Hub, voted up.

Steven Jones on January 29, 2013:

Green companies are the near future to strive for a better and greener living. Great hub I must say. to my concern I too came across a company called printing green who are completely dedicated to it.

dinesh on January 17, 2013:

nice thanks

Catherine Taylor from Canada on September 13, 2012:

It has become increasingly important to me to invest in green companies and this list was very helpful. Great hub.

Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on September 04, 2012:

I'm glad people are starting to expect corporations to treat the environment right.

Claudia Porter on August 28, 2012:

Interesting hub. I know a number of people who will only invest in these types of corporations. Also loved the tidbit about Lush. I'm going to check them out. Thanks.

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