Green Rankings 2012: Big Companies Making a Big Environmental Difference

Every year, Newsweek and The Daily Beast compile ‘Green Rankings’, a comprehensive list of companies that are leading the world in reduced environmental impact and sustainable management practices. ‘Green Rankings 2012’ was published last month, and these five pioneering organizations led this year’s list.

#5 National Australia Bank
Headquarters: Victoria, Australia
How it’s making a difference: NAB is one of the largest banks in Australia, but that didn’t stop the financial institution from achieving carbon neutrality two years ago through offsetting practices and heavy investment in gas- and wind-powered implements. NAB is currently developing a new data center that will boast a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) score of 1.35; the current facility has a PUE rating of 2.1. ‘Green Rankings’ also awarded the bank a near-perfect rating for ‘transparency and disclosure’.

#4 IBM
Headquarters: Armonk, N.Y.
How it’s making a difference: International Business Machines has been an American institution since it was founded more than a century ago. Today, the software giant leads all American companies on the ‘Green Rankings 2012’ list, thanks to its series of ‘Smarter Planet’ devices and software that allow clients to calculate their environmental impact and adopt more sustainable measures. Another innovative project, implemented at IBM’s lab in Zurich, is the “water-cooled supercomputer”, which decreases the network’s carbon footprint by 85 percent over standard, air-cooled systems that expend a significant amount of energy to prevent hardware from overheating.

#3 Banco Bradesco
Headquarters: Osasc, Brazil
How it’s making a difference: Brazil’s largest bank has made a huge impact on the country’s oft-scrutinized deforestation rate. In a partnership with the Amazonas State Government and Brazil’s Secretariat for Environment and Sustainable Development, the bank launched the Forest Conservation Grant Fund, a non-profit organization that conserves roughly 22 million acres of Amazonian rainforest. Bradesco has also donated $50 million to Atlantic Forest restoration efforts; the money will be used to plant more than 30 million new trees.

#2 Wipro
Headquarters: Bangalore, India
How it’s making a difference: Wipro managers recently spearheaded a renovation of the 50-acre campus in Bangalore. The modifications are intended not to improve aesthetics, but boost biodiversity by making the compound more conducive to native plant and animal species. The campus’s five ‘biodoversity centres’ are scheduled to reach completion by 2015. And as an added bonus, Wipro’s flagship facility in North Carolina recently earned ‘Gold’ certification by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) committee.

#1 Santander Brasil
Headquarters: São Paulo, Brazil
How it’s making a difference: The world’s most eco-friendly organization, according to Green Rankings 2012, is also fifth largest bank in Brazil with more than 9 million customers. Santander Brasil earned the top spot through its eco-friendly application process. Before signing off on loans or lines of credit, the bank must first approve of each client’s environmental activities; applicants who “raise red flags” must adopt new approaches to sustainable management before any monies are awarded. The bank also recycled roughly 260 tons of paper last year, drastically reduced water and energy consumption and implemented various green-building techniques and retrofits for each of the 154 new facilities it opened in 2011.

On behalf of Wenger Blog, congratulations to each of the 500 companies who included in this year’s ‘Green Rankings’.