IBM, Munich Re, HP Lead Newsweek Green Rankings; T. Rowe Price, BlackRock Bring up Rear

by | Oct 17, 2011

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Munch Re, IBM and National Australia Bank have topped this year’s Newsweek Green Rankings for companies worldwide, while IBM, HP and Sprint lead the pack for the U.S.

Last year Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Johnson & Johnson and Intel were the top five leaders among the 500 largest public U.S. companies. These same five companies topped the publication’s inaugural Green Rankings in 2009.

But this year saw Johnson & Johnson drop to sixth, and Intel fall to 15th. Sprint and Baxter replace them in the top five.

Newsweek says its results suggest that companies are taking environmental risks seriously, even as climate change slips down the public sector agenda.

But the rankings also suggest that U.S. companies are trailing their foreign competitors in the realm of sustainability. IBM is second on the world list, but after that the next U.S. company, HP, doesn’t come in until 15th place. Sprint is 16th, Baxter is 24th and Dell is 25th.

While Walmart’s Mexican arm comes in at number 14, Walmart itself doesn’t appear until number 124.

Tighter regulations in Europe appear to be giving companies there the advantage when it comes to sustainability disclosure, Newsweek said.

The bottom places in the world rankings are taken by Singaporean food company Wilmar; Coal India; Indian utility NTPC; U.S. agribusiness Monsanto; and U.S. food production company Archers-Daniels-Midland.

In the U.S., the bottom five are T. Rowe Price, BlackRock, Monsanto, Invesco and Consol Energy.

Although the bottom five include three financial companies, the sector also tended to take many of the top U.S. spots, along with technology and health care companies. That’s partially because these sectors are inherently low-impact, Newsweek said.

To produce the rankings, Newsweek worked with environmental research providers Trucost and Sustainalytics to assess each company’s environmental footprint, environmental management, and transparency.

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