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“Climate change and environmental impacts are pushing companies to consider the practical action they can take to make their performance greener.”



Manufacturing Companies Are Making Steady Improvements in their Green Performance, Study Indicates

Ken Prater

Manufacturing & Technology eJournal

15 October 2012


PA Consulting Group’s second annual benchmarking study of manufacturing companies shows that the companies under review have improved their green performance since early 2011. The benchmarking analysis is a snapshot of four global manufacturing companies, Siemens, GE, Alstom and ABB, which improved their green performance through various methods.

“Climate change and environmental impacts are pushing companies to consider the practical action they can take to make their performance greener,” explained David Vasak, greening business expert at PA Consulting Group.

PA Consulting Group assessed companies on three areas, product portfolio, strategy and organisation and transparency and operational performance, to provide a total score out of 100.

For the second consecutive year, Siemens is the greenest company in the sample. ABB improved its overall score and comes second. GE ranked third and Alstom remained in fourth place. However, both had made improvements in reducing the gap between them and the top two companies.

Product portfolio

Companies’ contributions to global environmental efforts were assessed and their green products were analysed. In the 2011 study, Siemens analysed the life-cycle environmental impact of 49 per cent of its products; in 2012 this increased to 88% of products. The 2012 study showed that Siemens generated 41 per cent of its total revenue from green products, compared to 38 per cent of revenue reported in the 2011 study. Meanwhile, ABB and Alstom increased their range of green products and revenue generated from them. ABB generated 60 per cent of its revenue from green products, representing a growth of 14 per cent in this area. Its performance in life cycle analysis remained the same, at 80 per cent coverage of its products. GE increased its green products revenue share from 20 per cent in 2010 to 22 per cent in 2011.

Strategy and organisation

PA Consulting Group looked at how clearly expressed and communicated the sustainability strategy of each company was and how sustainability is embedded within the four organisations. According to PA Consulting Group’s analysis, Siemens continued to perform strongly in this area but Alstom showed most improvement since early 2011. It has improved the clarity and scope of its sustainability strategy by making its environmental information more widely available in the public domain and increasing green awareness throughout the company.

Transparency and operational performance

Using the Carbon Disclosure Project Global 500 Index report¹, PA measured the transparency of information the companies provide to the public. For the 2012 study, PA used figures from 2009, 2010 and 2011 to assess changes in greenhouse gas emissions as well as energy and water consumption over these years. ABB leads on reducing energy consumption by 11.3 per cent, greenhouse gas emissions by 4 per cent and water consumption by 13.5 per cent². GE reported an improvement of 1.3 per cent in its energy savings, an improvement of 6.4 per cent in its greenhouse gas emissions and 30 per cent in its water consumption since 2009³. Siemens already operates efficiently in this area and did not report any further year on year savings between 2009 and 2011.

Edmond Cunningham, greening business expert at PA Consulting Group, said: “This year’s study showed that each company in the sample improved on its early 2011 score, with both ABB and Alstom gaining momentum in making their businesses greener and improving their presence through eco-friendly products.”

Clear steps must be taken to improve companies’ performance even further in order to make each company truly green, including setting ambitious goals and monitoring performance against those goals,” said Mr Cunningham. “In most cases, this will require the creation of a management role focusing on implementing environmental objectives. Secondly, these companies do not just need to make great products, but they must design them in a way that minimises the use of resources in operation, ensuring they are recyclable and eco-friendly.”

¹ CDP Reports 2010 and 2011

² These figures are based on intensity relative to revenue

³ These figures are based on intensity relative to revenue

About the study

PA Consulting Group carried out a benchmarking study of the performance of a sample of global companies (Siemens, GE, Alstom and ABB) in the industrial engineering sector, tracking changes in performance between early 2011 and the middle of 2012. The 2011 study took place in Q1 of 2011 and used the most recent data available, which at the time were figures from 2009. The 2012 study took place in Q3 of 2012 and used the most recent data available, which was from 2011. The study was carried out using public data that was available at the time the study took place. This included annual reports, environmental and sustainability reports, corporate websites and the Carbon Disclosure Project report.

Strategy and organisation

PA assessed the clarity of the companies’ sustainability strategy and how well green approaches are integrated into a company’s organisation, operations and supply chain. This assessment is worth 15 per cent of the total score.

Transparency and operational performance

For the 2012 study, PA analysed how transparent the company is about its environmental performance and its results over the past three years (2009, 2010 and 2011) to assess changes in greenhouse gas emissions as well as energy and water consumption. PA also included results from the Carbon Disclosure Project Global 500 Index report to obtain an objective measure of the transparency of information the business provides to the public. This assessment is worth 15 per cent of the total score.

Product portfolio

The third element, which has specific relevance to the industrial engineering companies in the sample, analysed how green products were and the revenue generated from the green products portfolio. PA assessed the size of the portfolio, its growth and the impact of the individual product’s lifecycle on the environment and the proportion of revenue generated by a company’s green portfolio. This assessment is worth 70 per cent of the total score.




To view the article in Manufacturing & Technology eJournal, click  here.  



For more information on PA's greening business expertise, click here or contact us now for more information.



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