Car manufacturers have performed surprisingly well in a new report measuring the carbon dioxide emissions of more than 600 top brands from all sectors.
BMW, General Motors, Renault and the Volkswagen group have all been ranked as Brand Leaders in the first annual Brand Emissions survey, published by Marketing and Brand Republic in association with the University of Edinburgh Business School.
Dr Craig Mackenzie, research director of the Brand Emissions Project, said: 'Most sectors have increased their absolute emissions in the period 2005-2009, but car manufacturers have reduced their output by 6%.'
Some of the cuts can be attributed to the downturn in car sales and cutbacks in manufacturing experienced by manufacturers during the recession. However, the sector is credited with setting targets for reducing emissions.
Dr Mackenzie said: 'While around half of the brands surveyed have carbon emissions reduction targets, more than 80% of car manufacturers have them in place. It's one of the sectors that's working hardest on cutting carbon.'
How are companies measured?
The report measures carbon emitted during car manufacture, for example the energy used in factories and on production lines. Totals also include the shipping of products to the marketplace.
'In the automotive sector, most emissions are associated with the use of the products driving cars and these are not included', said Dr Mackenzie. 'Next year, we want to factor in average fleet fuel efficiencies to get a more detailed picture.'
Just 21 car makers were ranked by Brand Emissions because the rest did not provide enough information for full analysis.
Best of the brands
Brand Emissions ranks each brand as a Leader, Runner Up or Competitor.
To achieve Brand Leader status, a brand must be reducing its emissions, or already have low emissions, have ambitions reductions targets and publish the evidence necessary to verify these facts.
Three groups achieved Leader status: BMW, including Mini and Rolls-Royce, General Motors, which includes Saab and Vauxhall, and the Volkswagen group of brands, which includes Seat, Audi, Skoda and Lamborghini.
BMW, which tops the table, outputs just 20 tonnes of CO2 for every million pounds of turnover generated, which compares with 48 tonnes/million for Toyota.
'BMW is one of the top-performing brands, yet its cars tend to be high-performance, so overall it's not the most carbon-efficient brand,' said Dr Mackenzie.
Brand Emissions Leaders
Rolls-Royce Motors (BMW)
Brand Emissions Runners up
Brand Emissions Competitors
Citroen (PSA Peugeot Citroen)
Peugeot (PSA Peugeot Citroen)
Alfa Romeo (Fiat)
Mercedes-Benz (Daimler AG)