Since the first Newsweek Green Rankings came out two years ago, a ‘green economy’ was high on everyone’s to do list. Since then, momentum has slowed way down and major government decisions have been non-decisions. However, many of the world’s largest companies have swum against this tide. Even in our weakened economy, big players have attacked green initiatives head on – implying that corporate responsibility is here to stay.

Many top executives understand that corporate responsibility is not only good for the environment but even better for business. Reducing waste reduces costs, something companies are looking to achieve every day. They also know resources are limited – water, land and minerals are finite. Companies that are dependent on these resources for their business are trying to figure out ways to use less, recycle more and consume alternative sources of fuel to sustain themselves.

This year’s Green Rankings are composed of two lists: 500 U.S. companies and 500 global companies that highlight leaders and laggards in sustainability. The data was analyzed by Trucost and Sustainalytics, leading environmental research firms, and assesses companies’ environmental footprint, management and disclosure. Collectively, the companies surveyed are responsible for more than 6 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year – nearly equivalent to all emissions produced annually by the U.S.

Overall, the Rankings suggest that the U.S. is lagging behind the rest of the world. This is especially true regarding transparency, as Europe’s regulatory environment requires companies to disclose non-financial data.

To read the full article please click here. To see the full methodology please click here. To see the full list of U.S. companies please click here. To see the full list of global companies please click here.

What do you think? Do you think the companies at the top are deserving? Are there any companies from the bottom you think should be higher, or companies that are left off altogether? Discuss!