Before to qualify a brand the main focus was on how consumers could identify and relate to it. Today, this is even truer. A brand needs to be sufficiently meaningful to consumers to be perceived as a “good brand”, but a brand also needs to be “green” since consideration of sustainability issues are taken more and more place in people’s mind. In June two very interesting studies were released: Meaningful brands by HAVAS and Best Global Green Brands by Interbrand. Since 2011, both raised an interesting question: is sustainability a major criterion to qualify brand?

Meaningful Brands

Meaningful Brands is the first global study conducted to find the relationship between people’s well-being and brands at a business level. The main purpose of this study is to understand the benefits brands bring to our lives and figure out which brands are the meaningful ones. This study is being carried out since 2011 by HAVAS. This year, 700 brands were evaluated by over 134.000 consumers in 23 countries through the Meaningful Brands Index (MBi) which uses 13 different criteria:

The aim of the MBi is to show the relationship between a brand’s MBi score and the level of consumer attachment to the brand. Here the level of attachment can be understood as the level of contribution that a brand has in personal and collective wellbeing. Here are the main findings that came out from this study:

  • Most people worldwide would not care if more than 73% of brands disappeared tomorrow.
  • Only 20% of brands worldwide make a significant, positive effect on people’s wellbeing.
  • The top Meaningful Brands outperform the market by 120%.

However, thanks to this study, it is interesting to see that global brands present all over the world will be perceived quite differently in the West and in the East. Based on the statistics, it appears that Asia and Latin America seems to be more attached to brands than Europe or the US. The level of trust in brands’ honesty is also stronger in Asia (50%) and Latin America (37%) than in Western Europe and the US (21%), with people in India and China expecting brands to improve their life. As a result of this analysis, HAVAS has presented its TOP 25 meaningful brands, where however, some brands are sharing the same rank:


Best Green Global Brands

For more than 10 years, Interbrand is ranking the Best Global Brands. But since 2011, what was the Best Global Brands has been turned into the Best Global Green Brands. Sustainability aspect has now become the main driver of this ranking.


This ranking aims to show what are the 100 most sustainable brands, and provide a definition of what is a “green brand”. The ranking model relies on a performance score and a perception score, since Interbrand believes that the Best Global Green Brands are located at the intersection of brand perception and brand performance. To perform such ranking, Interbrand worked with Deloitte. The performance score was assessed on 83 individuals for each brand based on 6 criteria: Governance, Stakeholder Engagement, Operations, Supply Chain, Transportation and Logistics, Products and Services, and data were collected from public sources such as annual report or CSR reports. The perception score was defined based on a survey conducted in the 10 countries with the biggest GDP, over 10.000 consumers, according to 6 criteria: Authenticity, Relevance, Differentiation, Consistency, Presence, and Understanding of environmental claims.

Source: Interbrand

Source: Interbrand

As a result, Best Global Green Brands seems to prove that putting sustainability upfront in their brand strategy is paying off in terms of performance and perception.

What are the common brands and lessons?

Thanks to HAVAS and Interbrand we have now two different rankings but are meaningful brands green or are green brands meaningful? By comparing both TOP ranking, here are the brands that are both qualified as meaningful and best global green brands in alphabetic order:


In both studies, observations of brands’ situation were made and both HAVAS and Interbrand came out with a common conclusion: people are losing more and more trust in brands. So, what brands can do? Probably listen to people’s expectations and make their brands bring benefits to both individual and collective lives: go toward being a sustainable brand!