The Nature Conservancy, the Environmental Defense Fund and WWF topped the first-ever corporate ratings of environmental advocacy groups, according to a new report.
The study was based on a survey of more than 200 companies.
The GreenBiz NGO Report, released last week at the annual GreenBiz Forum outside Phoenix, Arizona, asked companies – about three-quarters with revenue over US$1 billion (Bt32.5 billion) – to assess 30 of the largest environmental non-governmental organisations on their credibility and influence. It grouped the 30 NGOs into four distinct types, from “Trusted Partners” to “The Uninvited”.
“For years, we’ve seen corporations rated, ranked and reviewed by a wide range of NGOs. This is often part of a name-and-shame campaign compelling big brands to make big changes,” said John Davies, vice president and senior analyst at GreenBiz Group, which produces the GreenBiz Forum. “We decided to turn the tables and have sustainability executives rate leading NGOs.”
Each of the 30 NGOs were rated on the basis of their credibility and influence and were placed in one of four groups:
lTrusted Partners – Corporate-friendly, highly credible, long-term partners with easy-to-find public success stories.
lUseful Resources – Highly credible organisations known for creating helpful frameworks and services for corporate partners.
lBrand Challenged – Credible, but not influential, organisations.
lThe Uninvited – Less-known groups, or those viewed more as critics than partners.
The study looked at the top priority areas for corporations to engage with NGOs: climate change, community engagement and energy (both renewables and efficiency).
It also asked business panellists to identify the types of working relationships they preferred when engaging with NGOs. They said they preferred long-term partnerships over shorter ones, and looked to NGOs to get their perspectives on relevant issues. Not quite half said they worked with NGOs only on specific, short-term projects.
The annual GreenBiz Forum this year was attended by more than 500 corporate sustainability professionals representing some of the world’s largest companies. The event is tied to the publication of GreenBiz’s annual “State of Green Business” report, which assesses the key trends and indicators of progress by companies in addressing their key environmental impacts.
The free report can be downloaded on the GreenBiz website.
In addition to the three organisations that topped the ratings in the GreenBiz NGO Report, other leaders included BSR, Ceres, Conservation International, Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the US National Wildlife Federation, Oxfam, Rainforest Alliance, Rocky Mountain Institute, Sierra Club and the World Resources Institute.
The lowest-rated NGOs, the Uninvited, included groups that focus primarily on name-and-shame actions rather than on developing working partnerships with companies, including the Dogwood Alliance, Earth First, Earthjustice, Forest Ethics and the Rainforest Action Network.
GreenBiz Group’s mission is to define and accelerate the business of sustainability. It does this through a wide range of products and services, including its website GreenBiz.com and daily e-newsletter GreenBuzz; webcasts on topics of importance to sustainability and energy executives; research reports, such as the annual State of Green Business; the GreenBiz Executive Network, a membership-based, peer-to-peer learning forum for sustainability executives from Fortune 1000 companies; and conferences such as the GreenBiz Forum and VERGE.