How do you measure the sustainability of a brand? There are a lot of initiatives taking on this challenge from traditional accountancy firms such as KPMG Sustainability, to startup projects such as Ekofy. Let’s explore these different flavours and see how brands are being evaluated on their green entrepreneurship.
The consultant’s sustainability report
Similar to auditing the books at financial closure, accountants are now also auditing your sustainability. Many large corporations ask the big 4 accountancy firms to audit their sustainability report. This increases the company’s credibility of reported sustainability efforts and improves their brand’s green image. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) sets quality guidelines against which the sustainability reports are audited.
The ranking agency
There are many initiatives that are creating rankings of sustainable brands. A good example in the Netherlands is Rank a Brand. They independently evaluate companies and their brands against best practice by asking 10-30 questions depending on the sector. They only source information from the company’s website or sustainability report. Where possible, they refer to external verification to support the claims made by the company. At the moment, Rank a Brand has ranked more than 800 brands in 13 sectors. Since they are a non-profit foundation, most of the ranking is done by volunteers. They also receive small grants through Dutch subsidy arrangements.
The opinion of the crowd
A new initiative started by Finland-based Ekofy asks the “crowd” to rank a brand. They have created an open platform allowing Ekofy users to vote and thereby creating top Red and top Green lists. Companies are provided with a chance to defend or utilise their ranking and are offered real-time insight in consumer data. Ekofy hopes to contribute to a sustainable market economy by bringing the sustainability shortfalls of companies into the limelight.