Ranking US environmental groups – a somewhat controversial initiative

The California-based GreenBiz Group Inc., an organization claiming to define and accelerate the business of sustainability, has published the 2014 GreenBiz NGO Report: How Companies Rate Activists as Partners. Though environmental groups frequently rate the performance of industry and business, they are less enthusiastic about being rated themselves. Remember that everything in this article applies to the USA. To GallonDaily’s knowledge no similar ranking takes place in Canada.

The Greenbiz report is based on a survey of sustainability executives in large corporations. They were asked to rank 30 well-known environmental groups into one of four categories:

Trusted Partners – Corporate-friendly, highly credible, long-term partners with easy-to-find public success stories
Useful Resources – Highly credible organizations known for creating helpful frameworks and services for corporate partners
Brand Challenged – Credible, but not influential, organizations
The Uninvited – Less broadly known groups, or those viewed more as critics than partners

The top three priority areas for corporations to engage with NGOs — that is, the topics or focus areas of partnerships
— were found to be the same for both large and small companies: climate change, community engagement, and energy (both renewables and efficiency). Smaller companies rank water and raising consumer awareness as next on the list while more large companies identified food and agriculture and health as the next-highest-ranked priority areas.

The survey found that companies ranked the following as trusted partners:

  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • World Wildlife Fund

Those ranked as useful resources include:

  • Business for Social Responsibility (BSR)
  • Ceres
  • Conservation International
  • Greenpeace
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • Oxfam
  • Rainforest Alliance
  • Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Sierra Club
  • World Resources Institute

The remaining lists and much more information drawn from experience partnering or interfacing with environmental ngos can be found in the report at http://www.greenbiz.com/research/report/2014/02/18/greenbiz-ngo-report

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