*Update edit* – As of 20.09.17 we have been informed that the Newsweek Green Rankings will be going ahead in 2017. The data collection process is currently underway and the Rankings are due to be published later this year. We have updated this article to reflect this change in circumstances.
There has been radio silence from the ranking that once declared itself “one of the world’s most recognized assessments of corporate environmental performance”.
Since 2009, American magazine Newsweek has ranked the 500 largest publicly-traded companies, both globally and in the US, on environmental performance. Typically, Newsweek publishes the annual Green Rankings in June but it now looks as though this year’s rankings will be published later in the year.
This change follows a wider trend of ephemeral rankings and standards in the CSR and sustainability arena. As some rankings fade away, a whole spate of new rankings are introduced. Facing the challenge of knowing which ones are worth the effort, it can be tempting to dismiss the value of participating in any at all.
“Participation is worth it – so long as it’s strategic.”
In our report on rankings, standards, and awards we set out the benefits of taking part in detail. Aside from enhancing company reputation through recognition of good performance, we see the following to be gained from participation:
- Addressing material issues – Most rankings ask companies to disclose their processes and systems. The effort to identify and report on core areas can highlight strengths and potential opportunity areas. In addition, methodologies are often updated to reflect trends, signalling to companies emerging issues that they may need to address.
- Strengthening the case internally – Preparing submissions often involves the cooperation of issue-owners from departments across the business, including senior management. This can help raise awareness of the issues and encourage initiatives to improve. It can also provide a platform for wider employee engagement.
- Benchmarking with peers and competitors – Seeing how you shape up against your market rivals in any performance ranking is hard to resist. It can serve as a form of validation or act as a motivation to improve.
- Demonstrating a commitment to transparency – Participation indicates a willingness to disclose material sustainability information. This builds stakeholder trust, from consumers to investors.
- Improving performance – Rankings provide a systematic and standardised framework to collect data, understand current activities, and measure performance. Companies can use these initiatives as a tool to gather performance data and work towards improvement year-on-year.
It is true that the number of rankings, standards and awards is overwhelming. Now that we have reached the end of the spring reporting season, it is a good time to take stock and identify the rankings that are most relevant to your business needs. To learn more about our Rankings, Standards, and Awards service, please get in touch!