See where the world's top businesses rank in the 50 Best Global Green Brands list for 2014.

By Brian Dumaine
June 24, 2014

Just about every major corporation today understands the importance of running a sustainable business. Generally speaking, this means one in which water gets conserved, energy and materials come increasingly from clean sources, and the social impact of the business is positive. The trouble is, until now there have been few ways to measure not only how brands are performing environmentally but also how the public perceives that performance. And how the public perceives a company’s greenness is becoming increasingly important. “More and more companies are looking at social purpose and corporate citizenship as part of their core offering,” says Jez Frampton, the Global CEO of Interbrand, an international brand consultancy. “Why? It helps drive purchases.”

That’s especially true of the millennial generation. In general, they prefer to buy from companies who share their worldview—especially when it comes to the environment. In the decade ahead, those companies that invest in initiatives that help people and the planet as well as their bottom line and who can communicate those efforts effectively will have a competitive edge.

With that in mind, Fortune is publishing the 50 Best Global Green Brands for 2014 in conjunction the consulting firm Deloitte and Interbrand. The list was first created in 2011. This year’s nominees were drawn from Interbrand’s annual Best Global Brands report, which ranks the world’s 100 most valuable brands. The 50 companies on Best Global Green Brands list were ranked in two ways: on the strength of their sustainability initiatives and on how the public perceives those efforts.

Deloitte, which measured the brands for the seriousness and effectiveness of their environmental efforts, found that the leaders on the list have made sustainability mainstream. Says Will Sarni, a consultant at Deloitte: “This is the year of the supply chain. The companies that made the list are moving beyond greenhouse gas emissions in the supply chain to focus on waste and water use up and down the value chain.”

After Deloitte measured effectiveness, Interbrand then checked to see whether the public actually knew about all this hard work. It surveyed 10,000 people in countries with the ten largest GDPs to measure the perceived greenness of each brand.

The surprise on this year’s list was that Ford replaced Toyota as the No. 1 brand. Ford’s philosophy is that sustainability issues should be integrated into the business. The automaker now offers seven electrified models. Six are hybrids. The seventh, the Focus Electric, is a pure battery electric car.

The two brands that jumped the most this year were IKEA (No. 19) and Zara (No. 34), each rising 14 places from last year. The Swedish home furnishings chain announced that it would be teaming up with Nissan (No. 5) and energy provider Ecotricity to install electric car charging stations for customers at all U.K. stores. IKEA is one of the first major retailers to offer electric charging points –a proactive strategy to help meet the growing demand from their customers. Spanish retailer Zara is committed to implementing sustainable practices across it operations, from introducing a waste management policy across its flagships, using organic cotton and ecological fabrics, and educating staff on sustainable practices, such as limiting energy consumption. By 2020, all its existing stores around the world aim to be 100 percent eco-efficient.

The Best Global Green Brands list also posts a score for each brand that represents the gap between its overall performance score and its overall perception score. A positive score indicates a brand is doing more than it is given credit for, while a negative score indicates that a brand is being given more credit than its actions merit. More information on the methodology can be found here.

Panasonic, for example, had a high positive gap score. In other words, the brand is doing a lot of impressive work to become more sustainable but isn’t getting credit for it from the public. Apple has a negative gap score. While the company is doing more to improve its environmental performance, consumers believe that Apple is greener than it actually is. “In a world of social media,” says Interbrand’s Frampton, “this can be extremely dangerous because you’ll be found out.”

The rankings for all 50 brands on the list follow.


1. Ford

2013 rank: 2
Sector: Automotive
2014 gap: +3.2


2. Toyota

2013 rank: 1
Sector: Automotive
2014 gap: +0.3


3. Honda

2013 rank: 3
Sector: Automotive
2014 gap: +1.8


4. Nissan

2013 rank: 5
Sector: Automotive
2014 gap: +6.6


5. Panasonic

2013 rank: 4
Sector: Electronics
2014 gap: +13.9


6. Nokia

2013 rank: 9
Sector: Electronics
2014 gap: +19.0


7. Sony

2013 rank: 11
Sector: Electronics
2014 gap: +10.7


8. Adidas

2013 rank: 15
Sector: Sporting Goods
2014 gap: +6.1


9. Danone

2013 rank: 8
Sector: FMCG
2014 gap: -1.3


10. Dell

2013 rank: 10
Sector: Technology
2014 gap: +6.9


11. Samsung

2013 rank: 16
Sector: Technology
2014 gap: +8.3


12. Johnson & Johnson

2013 rank: 6
Sector: FMCG
2014 gap: +2.8


13. BMW

2013 rank: 13
Sector: Automotive
2014 gap: +5.8


14. Philips

2013 rank: 23
Sector: Electronics
2014 gap: +5.4


15. Intel

2013 rank: 21
Sector: Technology
2014 gap: +12.3


16. Volkswagen

2013 rank: 7
Sector: Automotive
2014 gap: +3.0


17. Hewlett-Packard

2013 rank: 12
Sector: Technology
2014 gap: +9.7


18. Nestlé

2013 rank: 14
Sector: FMCG
2014 gap: +4.0


19. IKEA

2013 rank: 33
Sector: Home Furnishings
2014 gap: -6.5


20. Coca-Cola

2013 rank: 19
Sector: Beverages
2014 gap: -12.2


21. Apple

2013 rank: 22
Sector: Technology
2014 gap: -1.1


22. L'Oréal

2013 rank: 20
Sector: FMCG
2014 gap: +15.3


23. GE

2013 rank: 25
Sector: Capital Goods
2014 gap: -1.8


24. Mercedes-Benz

2013 rank: 17
Sector: Automotive
2014 gap: +10.0


25. IBM

2013 rank: 27
Sector: Business Services
2014 gap: +10.9


26. Canon

2013 rank: 30
Sector: Electronics
2014 gap: +3.8


27. Xerox

2013 rank: 29
Sector: Business Services
2014 gap: +14.6


28. UPS

2013 rank: 32
Sector: Transportation
2014 gap: +6.3


29. Nike

2013 rank: 31
Sector: Sporting Goods
2014 gap: -0.5


30. Pepsi

2013 rank: 26
Sector: Beverages
2014 gap: -2.3


31. Siemens

2013 rank: 18
Sector: Capital Goods
2014 gap: +14.1


32. Chevrolet

2013 rank: 
Sector: Automotive
2014 gap: -2.9


33. Cisco

2013 rank: 28
Sector: Technology
2014 gap: +19.0


34. Zara

2013 rank: 48
Sector: Apparel
2014 gap: +4.7


35. Kia

2013 rank: 37
Sector: Automotive
2014 gap: +9.5


36. 3M

2013 rank: 24
Sector: Capital Goods
2014 gap: +3.4


37. Starbucks

2013 rank: 36
Sector: Restaurants
2014 gap: -2.0


38. Kellogg's

2013 rank: 38
Sector: FMCG
2014 gap: -6.0


39. H&M

2013 rank: 42
Sector: Apparel
2014 gap: +4.7


40. Hyundai

2013 rank: 34
Sector: Automotive
2014 gap: +7.2


41. Microsoft

2013 rank: 35
Sector: Technology
2014 gap: -9.1


42. Avon

2013 rank: 41
Sector: FMCG
2014 gap: +5.7


43. McDonald's

2013 rank: 47
Sector: Restaurants
2014 gap: -14.5


44. Santander

2013 rank: 46
Sector: Financial Services
2014 gap: -0.9


45. AXA

2013 rank: 44
Sector: Financial Services
2014 gap: +0.9


46. Caterpillar

2013 rank: 39
Sector: Capital Goods
2014 gap: +3.1


47. Shell

2013 rank: 40
Sector: Energy
2014 gap: -9.1


48. Colgate

2013 rank: 50
Sector: FMCG
2014 gap: -7.0


49. Disney

2013 rank: 
Sector: Media
2014 gap: -9.1


50. Heineken

2013 rank: 
Sector: Alcohol
2014 gap: -1.5

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