The automotive sector sees Toyota, Ford and Honda claiming first, second and third spots in Interbrand’s 2013 Best Global Green Brands report. Brands found on the list have been recognized for their initiatives to promote positive impact on the environment and communities.

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“The report provides leading brands with the insights they need to develop robust strategies – strategies that will not only drive their businesses forward, but also have a positive impact on the environment and communities in which those businesses operate,” Jez Frampton, global chief executive officer of Interbrand – a brand consultancy firm, said.

The report goes on to examine the gap between a corporation’s environmental practices and consumers’ perceptions of those practices. When identifying the top 50 Best Global Green Brands each year, Interbrand selects from the 100 brands that make up its annual Best Global Brands report. The company then conducts extensive consumer research to capture public perception of the brand’s sustainable or green practices and compares that to environmental sustainability performance data provided by Deloitte – data that is based upon publicly available information.

“What makes Best Global Green Brands report unique and valuable is that it examines performance and perception in action,” Frampton said.

David Pearson, Deloitte’s global sustainability leader, noted: “Sustainability continues to assert itself on the business agenda. Customers and stakeholders are holding businesses more and more accountable for sustainability performance, and businesses are working hard to ensure that their external perception reflects their internal efforts. Leading global brands are thus showing increased focus and innovation in the sustainability realm – leading to improved programmes and reporting.”

Automotive brands make up 50 percent of this year’s top ten with Toyota, Ford and Honda as the top three, while Nissan and Volkswagen take fifth and seventh spots respectively. The heavily regulated automotive industry has effectively demonstrated its innovations and firm commitment to manufacturing vehicles in more sustainable ways. Although most brands have made strong efforts to meet sustainability goals and comply with regulations, the top brands have been recognized for their commitment to sustainability through investments in creating innovative products such as hybrid technology. As the top global green brand, Toyota continues to dominate the hybrid vehicle market with its line of Prius models, where 2.9 million were sold worldwide in 2012.

Toyota is also exploring the future of mobility by building a low-carbon society called Toyota Ecoful Town in Toyota City, Japan. From reducing greenhouse gas emissions to using reusable metal containers for shipping and distribution, Toyota is a leading example of what can be achieved – both in terms of performance and perception – when a company makes sustainability an integral part of its overarching business strategy.