Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Climate Change Scorecard for Consumers

A new nonprofit group called Climate Counts has released its first annual scorecard ranking companies on what they are doing to slow climate change. Specifically, 56 consumer businesses in eight categories were examined on how they measure global warming emissions, their plans to reduce them, their support or opposition to regulation and – the most important to their ultimate score – how fully their disclose those activities.

No company achieved the perfect score of 100 and only four scored a 70 or better: Canon, IBM, Nike, and the consumer foods giant Unilever. Six companies scored zero: Jones Apparel Group, CBS Corp., Burger King Holdings Inc., Darden Restaurants Inc., Wendy's International Inc. and Amazon.com. Even yogurt-maker Stonyfield Farm, which provided $500,000 in seed money for Climate Counts and whose CEO chairs the group, scored only a 63 because of lack of disclosure and lagging use of renewable energy.

Companies that scored much higher than their competitors were thrilled, of course. Coca-Cola scored a 57 compared to PepsiCo’s 26. Jeff Seabright, Coca-Cola’s vice president for environment and water resources, told the
New York Times:
“Data shows that environment is an increasing part of informed consumer choice and this score recognizes our leadership.”
Other companies were not happy with their scores, especially if they were low because of disclosure issues. Avon Products scored an 11, but its director of corporate responsibility explained that the company has been “quietly” doing the right thing by making strides in energy efficiency, recycling, and packaging reductions for years.

I’m impressed with the usability of Climate Counts information: The website has a handy
pocket guide that ranks the companies by sector (making it easy to take with you shopping) and soon a company’s ranking may be available via cell phone.

Cross posted at Green Options

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