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U.S. Green Reputation Slammed, Or Not

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14 July 2009, 4:06 PM
Photo: NASA

I just received a most curious press release from GfK Public Affairs and Media.

GfK, one of the largest marketing research companies in the world according to its website, conducted a poll to determine the ranking of various countries as "brands." The country with the best overall reputation is Germany. The U.S. finishes seventh. As a tourist destination, Italy finishes first, France second. As an exporter, Japan comes first, the U.S. second.

But the poll the release directed my attention to, released to coincide with the recent G-8 meeting in Italy, ranked countries based on how they "behave responsibly to protect the environment." Tops is Switzerland. The top 10 include all the Scandinavian countries, plus Germany and the Netherlands in Europe, plus Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Overall, the poll ranked 50 countries. And where do you suppose the U.S. landed? Forty-ninth, ahead of the United Arab Emirates and just behind Ecuador, Indonesia, India, Russia, Cuba, China and others.

So how, one wonders, did this ranking come about. It turns out that 20 countries were asked to rank 50 countries. The rankers were the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Russia, Poland, Turkey, Japan, China, India, South Korea, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, and South Africa.

A very curious list. Only three countries from all of Latin America, two from Africa, none from the Middle East. Only the giants from Asia.

I guess maybe the point of the exercise is that many of the G-8 are not wonderful environmental citizens, which is no huge surprise. Or maybe that everyone is still mad at the U.S.

Anyone have any theories?

The almighty Lobby and very special interest in the USA.

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