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October 22, 2012

IBM Leads Newsweek's U.S. Green Rankings, Democrats Top Political List



Big Blue has snagged the number one spot as the most eco-friendly company in America, as based on Newsweek’s fourth annual Green Rankings report. IBM (News - Alert) continues to innovate, both in reducing its own environmental impact and in helping client companies to do the same. The Granddaddy of all computer companies also came in at number four in the world rankings.

To prepare the report, Newsweek analyzed data on the largest 500 U.S. and global companies—comparing their environmental footprint, corporate management and transparency— to determine which were the most eco-friendly for the past year. Data for the survey were collected by leading environmental research providers Trucost of New York City and Sustainalytics of Amsterdam.

The Newsweek report broke the results down into a number of categories—including America’s Greenest Companies, the Greenest Companies Globally, the Greenest U.S. Energy Companies; the Greenest U.S. Politicians—and more.

America’s Greenest Companies

The list of the top five greenest companies in America comprises the following firms, which were forerunners for the following reasons:

1.     IBM of Armonk, New York, led the entire U.S. pack, with a green score of 82.9 and an environmental impact score of 78.9. IBM’s “Smarter Planet” products help clients to measure and reduce their resource consumption—and save money. At its Zurich lab, water that cools a supercomputer is also used to warm nearby buildings.

2.     Hewlett-Packard, based in Palo Alto (News - Alert), California, achieved a green score of 78.5 and an environmental impact rating of 78.9. HP has lowered its emissions by more than 50 percent since 2005, and has pushed its suppliers to get green as well, effectively refusing to work with paper companies linked to deforestation and illegal logging.

3.      Sprint (News - Alert) of Overland Park, Kansas, racked up a green score of 77.5 and an environmental impact rating of 72.4. Sprint was the first telecom to collect and reuse discarded devices, and it gives online buyers credits every time they turn in their old phones. By 2017, the company hopes to recycle nine out of every ten devices it sells.

4.     Dell (News - Alert), with headquarters in Round Rock, Texas, attained a green score of 77.1 and an environmental impact rating of 67.4. The computer maker creates nearly zero waste by reusing or recycling an astounding 98 percent of its nonhazardous by-products. It’s a leader in smarter packaging, using bamboo instead of cardboard.

5.     CA (News - Alert) (News - Alert) Technologies of Islandia, New York, came in with a green score of 77.1 and an environmental impact score of 79.9. The management software provider lets 30 percent of its employees work from home, cutting back on pollution from commuting. By 2015, it plans to buy 25 percent of its electricity from renewable resources.

Greenest Companies Globally

Looking at the 500 largest companies worldwide, Newsweek ranked the top five as follows:

1.     Santander (Brazil) was tops, with a green score of 85.7 and an environmental impact of 88.5. The Brazilian divison of Banco Santander requires prospective clients to complete a questionnaire about their environmental practices. The bank guides any whose answers raise red flags toward more sustainable practices before approving loans or lines of credit.

2.     Wipro (News - Alert) (India) came in with a green score of 85.4 and an environmental impact of 702. The Indian IT services company plans to convert five of its campuses into “biodiversity zones” by 2015, and its flagship data center in North Carolina was just awarded LEED Gold certification.

3.     Bradesco (Brazil) attained a green score of 83.7 and an environmental impact score of 87.9. The Brazilian bank started a nonprofit that conserves 10 million hectares (38,610 square miles) in the Amazonian rainforest. It also has given over $50 million to plant more than 30 million trees in the Atlantic Forest along the Atlantic coast of Brazil.

4.     IBM (USA) was rated as top U.S. company (see description above).

5.     National Australia Bank came in fifth, with a green score of 82.7 and an environment impact rating of 82.0. The bank achieved carbon neutrality in 2010 by changing and curbing energy use—not just by buying offsets. Its investment in gas and wind-power projects has nearly tripled in the past five years.

Greenest U.S. Energy Companies

In the U.S. energy sector, surprisingly enough, the huge fossil fuel companies came out ahead in the rankings, with Hess (New York City) at number one; Baker Hughes (Houston) at number two; Marathon Oil (Houston), third; Schlumberger (News - Alert) (Houston), fourth; and Weatherford International (Houston), at five.

According to Newsweek, a large number of leading energy companies are involved in implementing innovative projects that they project will lead to large reductions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon capture and storage. In recent years, companies have started adopting drilling standards that go beyond what is required by government regulations, and are pooling resources through industry initiatives to jointly address emergency spill situations.

However, hydrocarbon-release accidents continue at production and transport facilities—with often-devastating environmental consequences—indicating a need for a more proactive approach to spills. The industry must also improve its transparency on water issues, especially as operations frequently span into water-sensitive regions of the world. Many companies still fail to adopt comprehensive water-management systems supported by long-term targets and deadlines.

Greenest U.S. Politicians

And during a U.S. presidential election year, Newsweek’s sister publication The Daily Beast, also took a gander at what the politicians are doing in Washington, DC, and came up with a list of the legislative “greenies.

To find the greenest members of Congress, the researchers started with the most recent annual scoring of legislators’ environmental records from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), homing in on the nearly 100 “electeds” who scored a 97 out of 100 or better. Then, because money makes the political world go ’round, they looked at donations from the oil, gas, and mining industries, to see if there were any so-called green politicians taking big dollars from potential polluters.

To find out who was most likely to be beholden to environmental concerns, the analysts also took into account donations from environmental policy and alternate energy interests, more likely to push for support for green legislation. These donation dollars were calculated as a percentage of each politician’s total donations over the most recent term-period (six years for senators, two years for representatives), with data from the Washington, DC-based Center for Responsive Politics and Berekeley, California-based Maplight (a nonpartisan research organization that reveals money’s influence on politics in the U.S. Congress). Finally, The Daily Beast added bonus points for politicians who are members of environmental caucuses.

Interesting enough, there is not a Republican (or even an Independent) legislator on the list. From top to bottom, the “winners’ in this category were: Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Rush Holt (D-New Jersey); Sen. Jeff Merley (D-OR), Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), Sen. Barbara Bozer (D-CA), Rep. Sam Farr ( D-CA), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Rep. Tim Bishop (D-New York), Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD).

For more information on the Newsweek Green Rankings—including the “losers” of the year—click here.




Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

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