Green junk food?

A recent study by Interbrand (which helps companies create and exploit their brand, e.g., their image) assessed global corporations to see which ones were making their operations more environmentally responsible. The report is “Best Global Green Brands 2011.”

As an advocate of fresh, organic, and local, I am skeptical that huge food corporations may have justifiably made the list. But as an admitted list junkie, I checked it out to see if any were among the top 50. To my amazement, there were:

#27 Coca-Cola
#29 Pepsi
#35 Campbells
#36 Kellogg’s
#42 Starbucks, and hang onto your hats,
#45 McDonald’s.

Yes, I nearly fainted too. But read on.

The Interbrand report also lists how big a gap there is between what the company is doing, and what people perceive it as doing. Nor surprisingly, McDonald’s had the biggest gap, Coke is third, Kellogg’s fifth, and Starbucks eighth.

Should we believe this? The Interbrand report is interactive and gives much more information – check it out for yourself!  And an informative writeup on all this can be found here
on Greenbiz, which is an excellent source for information on the good and bad eco-deeds of corporate America. Greenbiz also sends out regular newsletters (GreenBuzz), which you can sign up for on the website.

Joel Makower, who heads Green Biz, once wrote about what he called “Makower’s Paradox” – when companies are doing good environmental things WITHOUT talking about it. He suggested that perhaps they don’t want to go out on a limb and risk being called out for greenwashing. That makes a certain amount of sense…. if you’ve just started exercising and are still something of a couch potato, you wouldn’t advertise yourself as an athlete… yet.

So should we see this Interbrand list as good news? Or should we remain hugely skeptical? What do you think?


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