The art of Green-(eye)-washing

Is Nike a green brand, or Nestle, or even Coca-Col, or for that matter Shell (an oil company)??? One wouldn’t really think so a priori.Yet, according to highly mediatised report by Interbrand, these are among the top 50 greenest brands in the world, or so they would like you to believe.

A new report by brand value management company Interbrand, a US based Media company that compiles reports on global companies.  The report, titled Best Global Green Brands 2013, has been conveniently marketed in world Media as the greenest brands in the world (see sample articles, here, here and here.

The methodology used in the above report is a little thin on details, although it contains the right vocabulary.  However, like all statistical analysis, much and anything can be conveyed and obtained from statistics, it all depends on how objective one is.  So without knowing who is sponsoring this report, it is difficult to evaluate its authenticity.  If you look at the clients of Interbrand (the company behind the report) many of them are global multinationals.

Another interesting aspect of this report is that it has only been applied to the top 100 global brands (selected in terms of brand value, economic profit, brand strength and role of brand) in other words we are talking about the most valued companies.  Top 50 Greenest brands are not the most sustainable brands, but rather the most sustainable of the most economically successful brands).
The nominees are drawn from Interbrand’s annual Best Global Brands report, which ranks the world’s 100 most valuable brands. (Quote from Interbrand report methodology.)
This finer point is conveniently left out of their Media report, letting consumers believe these are the greenest brands in the world.  So yet again, a lovely marketing eye wash that lets me believe that this report has been financed by top global brands as yet another exercise in Green-(eye)-washing.