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Green Tech Rankings: Comparing Newsweek and Greenpeace

We recently added Greenpeace and Newsweek green rankings to our directory of companies making products used by the media industry. This side-by-side comparison reveals the divergence among rating systems.

Comparison is made difficult by differing approaches to rating companies and publishing results. Greenpeace ranks 18 consumer electronics companies worldwide; Newsweek ranks 53 US tech firms of all kinds. Greenpeace ranks companies on a 10-point basis, with the best performing one (Nokia) scoring 7.5. Newsweek ranks on a 100-point basis, with the raw scores scaled so the top performer out of all 500 ranked companies (HP) gets a final score of 100.

Both agree on Apple: it falls in the middle of the respective tech packs. Beyond that, rankings can diverge. Newsweek puts HP and Dell in the top two tech positions, whereas Greenpeace puts them in the bottom third of its list. Microsoft is in the top third of Newsweek's tech rankings, while it sits in the bottom third of Greenpeace's.

One obvious factor is the international versus US composition of the lists. Only one of companies in the top third of Greenpeace's list in American. (Motorola, which Newsweek also places in its top third.) If Greenpeace's implicit assessment about the the relatively stronger green performance of European and Asian companies is accurate, than a consequence of Newsweek's approach is to artificially boost both the rankings and scores of American companies.

Click here to see a chart comparing the rankings for selected tech companies and to follow links to more about the Greenpeace and Newsweek rankings.