Rated Ranking: Newsweek Green Rankings

Newsweek Green Rankings 2015


After the complete refurbishment of methodology Newsweek’s Green Rankings contained one considerable flaw last year in the highest weighed KPI. The news this year is: Newsweek and its provider of the ranking – Corporate Knights Capital – did their homework and succeeded to improve the methodology.

Newsweek’s Green Ranking could be considered as one of the most important rankings on environmental sustainability. It consists of eight KPIs covering e.g. energy-, green house gas-, waste- and water productivity each weighted 15 %. Three corporate governance indicators sum up to a weight of 20 %. The highest weighed single indicator now measures the “Green Revenue Score” which is the portion of a company’s revenue that is derived from products and services that contribute positively to environmental sustainability. The data is provided by HIP Investor, a company specialized in sustainability metrics. While this KPI still could contain errors as it relies on data delivered by the companies reviewed it is a much better metric than the KPI applied last year. All other KPIs and data sources remain unchanged.
Newsweek Green Rankings covers the 500 largest US and the 500 largest publicly traded companies worldwide. The global list is headed by three health care companies: Biogen, Shire and Allergan followed by Reckitt Benckiser, Adobe, Swisscom, and Unilever. All in all we see quite a few changes among the top 50. Unfortunately the presentation of detailed data has changed since last year so that a comparison is not as easy as it should by. It is likely that the high presence of companies belonging to the health care, information and telecommunication, and the consumer goods sector is due to the new introduced green revenue score KPI.

Newsweek’s Green Rankings is still provided by a well known player in the sustainability ranking business: Corporate Knights Capital, which is also compiling and publishing the “Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World“ ranking every year at the WEF summit in Davos. We already remarked last year that Corporate Knights providing two of the most relevant sustainability rankings worldwide has become a pretty powerful player in the sustainability ranking business. The result is also a certain monotony among indicators in two major sustainability rankings as half of the KPIs in the Green Rankings are similar to the (twelve) KPIs of the “Global 100” ranking.

The results can be accessed here.

Relevance / Impact
– 15 points –
Added Value / Insights
– 11 points –

Trustworthiness / Intention
– 15 points –
– 13 points –

Aggregated points
– 54 (out of 60) –
Highly valuable ranking

Useful ranking with some flaws

Partially useful ranking with considerable flaws

< 30
Useless ranking

Reach of publication:

  • Global, e.g. North America, Europe and Asia (5 points)
  • Regional, e.g. Europe or North America (3 points)
  • Large national market: e.g. US, China, Japan, Germany, France, UK, Italy, Brazil (2 points)
  • Mid-sized or small market, e.g. Switzerland, Netherlands, Argentina, Singapore (1 point)

Ranking will be recognized by key stakeholders:

  • Opinion Leaders (Politicians, Professors; NGO’s) (2 points)
  • Business Advisory Board, C-Level Executives (CEO, CCO, CFO, CMO) (2 points)
  • High Potentials & Top Talents (employer market, students) (2 points)
  • Financial Market (2 points)
  • General Public (2 points)

Aggregated points: 13 (of max. 15)

Is the owner providing the ranking a credible and trustworthy organization?

  • Ranking owner has limited credibility and reputation. (1 point)
  • Ranking owner has fair credibility and reputation. (3 points)
  • Ranking owner has excellent credibility and reputation. (5 points)

What is the ranking owner’s intention to produce and disseminate the ranking?

  • Ranking is predominantly a tool to raise awareness for the owner with the possible intention to sell consultancy services. (1 point)
  • Ranking is partly a tool to raise awareness for the owner with the possible intention to sell consultancy services. (3 points)
  • Ranking is predominantly a tool to surface and share important insights on the subject surveyed. (5 points)

Is/Are the media outlet(s) where the ranking is published of high credibility and reputation?

  • Media outlet(s) has/have limited credibility and reputation. (1 point)
  • Media outlet(s) has/have fair credibility and reputation. (3 points)
  • Media outlet(s) has/have excellent credibility and reputation. (5 points)

Aggregated points: 15 (of max. 15)

Do the ranking results provide overall orientation where companies stand?

  • limited orientation only (1 point)
  • fair orientation provided (3 points)
  • very good orientation (5 points)

Is the Ranking published in the same format on a regular basis, e.g. annually, which allows to track developments and comparisons over time?

  • ranking is published for the first time (1 point)
  • ranking is published for the second time in the same format (3 points)
  • ranking is published for more than 3 times on a regular basis in the same format (5 points)

Comment: After an interruption in 2013 the ranking was published with a completely new methodology in 2014. This year there is a change in one out of eight KPIs. The weight of the KPI amended counts for 20 % of the assessments – therefore a strict comparison to last years results is difficult.

Do the ranking results provide added value and further insights on how companies are evaluated in in their industry, e.g. detailed ratings in various sub-dimensions of the overall result?

  • limited added value only (1 point)
  • fair amount of added value (3 points)
  • high amount of added value (5 points)

Comment: Interactive tables allow to rank and compare companies according to each the defined KPIs or the respective rank within their industry.

Aggregated points: 11 (of max. 15)

Is the ranking based on a representative survey among key stakeholders or on a jury only?

  • Ranking is based on a jury’s opinion only. (1 point)
  • Ranking is based on a small survey or only on a limited group of stakeholders. (3 points)
  • Ranking is based on a robust and representative survey. (5 points)

Is the ranking methodology easy to understand and reasonable – even for non-statisticians?

  • Methodology not easy to understand and not reasonable. (1 point)
  • Methodology fairly good to understand and reasonable. (3 points)
  • Methodology very easy to understand and reasonable. (5 points)

Comment: While we see a considerable improvement in methodology (and transparency regarding it) we still see minor flaws which hinders us to give full points. See summary for more detailled information.

Is the ranking methodology easy to access and transparent?

  • Methodology not easy to find and not sufficiently transparent. (1 point)
  • Methodology fairly good to find and of medium transparency. (3 points)
  • Methodology very easy to find and of high transparency. (5 points)

Comment: With change of one KPI we see a considerable improvement in transparency. Accessibility to methodology has also improved.

Aggregated points: 13 (of max. 15)

Ranking category

  • Product / Service Brands
  • Company Brands
  • Corporate Reputation and Company Esteem
  • Social Responsibility, CSR & Sustainability, Ethical Business Practices
  • Innovation & Technology
  • Employer Attractiveness & Diversity
  • Leadership
  • Nations & Destinations
  • University & Other Institutions
  • Sports
  • Lifestyle
  • Social Media
  • Personal Branding & CEOs

Ranking statistics

  • Name of Ranking: Newsweek Green Rankings 2015
  • Ranking managed/produced by institute/organization: Corporate Knights Capital
  • Ranking published by media outlet: Newsweek
  • Date of recent publication: June 8, 2015
  • Date of previous publication: June 5, 2014

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