Today Interbrand released its Best Global Green Brands study, ranking the top 50 among the leading worldwide brands, in which Japan stands out. Out of the top 10, three wave the Japanese flag, with Toyota claiming number one.
This study showcases a very unique methodology, combining the internal (brand performance) with the external (brand perception by consumers) to measure who has the “greenest” brand — inside and out. Using Interbrand’s experience in brand valuation and Deloitte’s expertise, each brand's green performance data was organized into 82 metrics in six categories: Governance, Stakeholder Engagement, Operations, Supply Chain, Transportation and Logistics, and Products and Services.
If one looks at the country's history and current plight, Japanese brands’ green success should come as no surprise.
As an island with limited resources, Japan has had centuries of experience in transportation and energy optimization. Now, with recent power shortages and resources stretched even further following the tsunami and earthquake that devastated the nation earlier this year, Japanese brands are just as motivated to differentiate amongst their competitors.
As Riki Inuzku, Managing Officer at Toyota, commented in an interview with Interbrand (the parent company of brandchannel), "We have been focusing on fossil fuel as automobile energy sources, but the diversification of energy source is inevitable in terms of the future oil balance. Toyota positions its hybrid system as ‘a core green technology for the 21st century."
Other top Japanese brands making Interbrand's first global green ranking include Honda (#7), another automotive giant, and Panasonic (#10), both of which rank third in their respective industries. (Panasonic's sustainable technology also deserves credit for aiding Japan's tsunami disaster relief efforts.)
While Germany and the U.S. brands also claim many of these top spots, Japan’s business practices continue to demonstrate green leadership. Alex Murray, a consultant with Interbrand Tokyo, comments:
For many Japanese companies, the green movement fits nicely within existing corporate philosophies inherited from their founders. It requires only a slight reinterpretation to adapt these idealistic principles to match with the realities of the 21st century.e just as motivated to differentiate amongst their competitors.
As noted by the study, green brand perception varies by country depending on the level of integration of environmentally-friendly policies in domestic affairs. For example, consumers in China rated brands quite high while responses in Germany — where green regulations are much more common — were notably lower.
For more, visit the 2011 Best Global Green Brands report.