Newsweek Green Rankings 2012: Big Movers Since 2011


The 2012 Newsweek Green Rankings were calculated using the same methodology as last year, making meaningful year-over-year comparisons possible. Here we highlight some illustrative examples of companies whose ranks changed significantly—for better or worse—since 2011.

#85 (+151 since 2011)


Target broke into the U.S. Top 100 through its efforts to implement formal environmental impact-reduction targets, including reducing waste by 15 percent, water use per square foot of office space by 10 percent, and greenhouse-gas emissions per revenue by 20 percent. Target has also begun implementing a new green procurement program that was launched in 2012 to assess the environmental performance of its global suppliers.

#118 (-68 since 2011)

Technology Equipment

Apple's Green Score took a hit this year due to the company’s resistance to participating in public reporting via the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) for the second straight year. The CDP is a leading environmental nonprofit that publicly surveys the world’s largest companies on their greenhouse-gas emissions, management systems, and reduction targets.

Southwest Airlines
#129 (+153 since 2011)

Transportation & Logistics

Southwest has improved its environmental disclosure signifcantly, which is now fully assured by external review in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative, the leading voluntary standard for corproate sustainability reporting. The airline has also improved disclosure of its environmental impacts, including more detailed information on waste generation and disposal, and operational fuel use.

#155 (+134 since 2011)

Food, Beverage & Tobacco

Coca-Cola has improved external certification of its environmental management system, with 16 of 17 production facilities now meeting the ISO 14001 environmental management standard. In addition, the company disclosed that it is a member of Bonsucro, an initiative for sustainable sugar, a key ingredient for the company. Coca-Cola has contributed to 27 sustainable agriculture initiatives in 22 countries.

#288 (-76 since 2011)

Consumer Goods

Clorox saw a performance decrease in this year’s Green Rankings, with its overall Green Score falling from 53 to 51. The company’s direct greenhouse-gas emissions increased 10 percent in 2011, even as revenue decreased. Clorox did see an improved disclosure score, including quantitative reporting on its environmental impacts, including its heavy-metal emissions.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber
#74 (+178 since 2011)

Vehicles & Components

Goodyear Tire & Rubber has made great strides in the 2012 Green Rankings, moving from the middle of the pack (#252 in 2011) into the U.S. Top 100 this year. The company has improved its environmental management system (EMS) significantly, increased external certification of its EMS to more than 90 percent, developed new programs and targets to decrease greenhouse-gas emissions, and increased renewable-energy use across its operations.

Norfolk Southern
#181 (+217 since 2011)

Transportation & Logistics

Norfolk Southern made a significant move up the Green Rankings, improving environmental performance across the board. The company has improved on its environmental footprint through a number of initiatives that increase the fuel efficiency of its railroad fleet, which generates 86 percent of the company’s total greenhouse-gas emissions. Norfolk Southern has also introduced an emissions reduction target of 10 percent per revenue ton mile by 2014. It has committed to using new technology to improve energy efficiency, including by expanding use of LEADER, an onboard GPS-based computer system, across all its operations by 2014.

BNY Mellon
#275 (+133 since 2011)


BNY Mellon launched a new renewable energy program that includes company-wide targets and deadlines. It also improved its disclosure related to responsible asset management: at the end of 2011, it had three responsible investment funds (less than 1.4 percent of total assets under management).

#232 (+109 since 2011)

Technology Equipment

SanDisk improved its Green Score from 54 to 58, moving it up more than 100 spots in the ranking, as the company improved its environmental policy and broadened its externally-certified environmental management system. The company strengthened its water-reduction programs and disclosed more detail on its green procurement and sustainability product and services initiatives.

#252 (-108 since 2011)

Industrial Goods

Caterpillar slipped from 144 in 2011 to 252 in 2012, in part due to weakened public-disclosure practices. It failed to complete a submission to the Carbon Disclosure Project this year and did not prepare its corporate responsibility report according to Global Reporting Initiative guidelines (a widely accepted standard). Additionally, the company was fined $2.55 million by the U.S. Department of Justice as a result of engines that did not conform to environmental regulations.

Caterpillar’s environmental impact intensity and its reporting on key environmental impacts remained consistent.