Apple? Not even close, according to Interbrand's Best Global Green Brands 2014 report, which positions it at a rather lackluster number 21. No, the winner is Ford, relegating the winner for the last three years, Toyota, to second place, with car manufacturers dominating the top spots. If you're not familiar with Interbrand, it describes itself as the world's largest brand consultancy, spanning nearly 40 offices. As such, its clients include... well, everything from Porche to McDonald's.
The report places an emphasis on brand value, based on Interbrand's approach to creating and managing client value. This leads to the possibility of increasing overall brand value through improving the “greenness” of a brand. Then comes an assessment of environmental performance and consumer perception, articulating the balance between "doing the right thing" and being perceived to be doing so. Since the actions a company is taking and how it's perceived often differ, the report adds this "Gap Score" to each firm to indicate the level to which environmental performance and consumer perception are in balance. Speaking of McDonald's, which was recently named the country’s least favorite major fast food chain, it has the dubious disctinction of having the worst Gap Score in the report, indicating that it has a lot of work ahead of it to convince us that it's serious about sustainability.
While the specific coverage given to each of the 50 brands that made the cut is interesting enough, the ten articles and interviews (including one with Michelle Crozier Yates, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Adobe and Executive Director of the Adobe Foundation) are the best place to start, since they provide solid insight into the green and sustainable challenges facing corporations. Best Global Green Brands 2014 adds up to a great resource for designers, who need to be in synch with the concerns of their clients in this increasingly essential and complicated domain.