The Newsweek 2011 Green Rankings recognize the greenest companies in the United States and the world. Newsweek’s data, which was obtained through a partnership with Trucost and Sustainalytics, focused on each company’s environmental footprint, environmental-related management policies and the company’s disclosure and reporting practices. Companies receive a score in each category and then an overall green score is assigned. This score determines the final rankings.


This year, IBM takes the top spot in the U.S. Companies - Green Rankings 2011 list with an overall score of 82.5. The Newsweek synopsis of IBM’s score includes a nod to the company’s 40-year history of progressive environmental policies.


“In 1971, IBM formalized a policy that was designed to put the company on the environmental forefront in all of its business activities. And in the intervening 40 years, many of the company’s initiatives have truly been ahead of their time. For instance, IBM developed requirements for secondary containment for underground storage tanks in 1979, while the EPA waited until 1985 to create the Office of Underground Storage Tanks, which was designed to develop regulatory programs for such tanks.” Source: The Daily Beast


IBM is just one of six technology-related companies featured in the domestic list this year. Other tech companies that have received recognition for their environmental stewardship include Hewlett-Packard (#2), Dell (#5), Accenture (#7), CA Technologies (#9) and Nvidia (#10).


While tech companies performed well in the national list, only three tech companies made the global top 10 list. IBM’s green policies earned the company the number two spot on the global green rankings list. The other two tech firms on the global list are both based in India — Tata Consultancy Services (#7) and Infosys (#8).


Germany-based financial firm Munich Re was named the greenest company in the world in the Global Green Rankings 2011 list with a green score of 83.6. IBM was number two (82.5) and National Australia Bank came in just behind IBM with a score of 82.2.


Looking at the global rankings list is slightly depressing. Only five of the top 25 companies are based in the United States: IBM (#2), Hewlett-Packard (#15), Sprint Nextel (#16), Baxter (#24) and Dell (#25). The lack of domestic representation on the global list was mentioned in the Newsweek overview of this year’s rankings. “The Newsweek rankings suggest that the U.S. is trailing other parts of the world in the sustainability arena.” Newsweek cites strong environmental regulations in Europe as one possible cause for this disparity.


Unfortunately, environmental regulations are being met with strong resistance by Congress. When you combine this resistance with the economic crisis and the political games being played in advance of next year’s elections, it paints a grim future for the state of green business here in the U.S. While it would be nice to see more representation by U.S. companies in the 2012 global list, I’m not very optimistic.


Until the U.S. catches up with Europe in the environmental regulations arena, I would like to congratulate the companies that have earned top honors in the Newsweek 2011 Green Rankings. Taking steps to reduce your company’s environmental footprint despite an official mandate is commendable, and other companies should follow your lead.


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What's the greenest company in the nation?
Newsweek releases its 2011 Green Rankings. What other U.S. companies are seriously green?