June 26, 2007 -- Consumers can now factor a company’s track record on climate change into their purchasing decisions for everything from sneakers to soft drinks, thanks to the Climate Counts Company Scorecard. The Scorecard, released today by the nonprofit Climate Counts, scores 56 major corporations across eight sectors – from apparel to electronics to fast food – on their commitment to reversing climate change.
“Global warming is real. We have 10 years to do something significant about it, and we can,” said Gary Hirshberg, chair of Climate Counts and CEO of organic yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm. “Business must play a significant role in stopping global warming, and we believe the key to influencing companies lies in the hands of the consumer. With the Scorecard, consumers now have the power to make good climate decisions in their everyday purchases.”
Canon, Nike and Unilever top the 56 companies scored on the inaugural Climate Counts Company Scorecard. At the very bottom – with scores of zero – are Amazon.com, Wendy’s, Burger King, Jones Apparel, CBS and Darden Restaurants (which owns popular restaurants Red Lobster and Olive Garden). Sixteen low-performing companies scored under 10 points, including big names like Apple, eBay.com and Levi Strauss.
“Consumers are beginning to understand that every time they open their wallets, they affect our climate future, but taking positive action has been hard to do. Coke or Pepsi? Big Mac or Whopper? Levi’s or Gap?” said Joel Makower, chair and executive editor of Greener World Media, producer of popular Web sites GreenBiz.com and ClimateBiz.com. “The Climate Counts Company Scorecard makes this connection possible by giving consumers the information they need to make climate-conscious decisions.”
“We hope Climate Counts will motivate companies to be more proactive in reducing their impact on climate change,” said Adam Markham, executive director of Clean Air-Cool Planet. “The Climate Counts research found that companies really run the gamut when it comes to climate commitment. Our hope is that the Scorecard challenges them to take climate change seriously and increase their efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.”
The companies were scored on a scale from one to 100, based on 22 criteria that fall within four benchmarks: whether they measure their carbon footprint; what efforts they have made to reduce their own climate impact; whether they support or oppose global-warming legislation; and what they disclose to the public about their work to address climate change.
Consumers can review all the company scores and download a pocket-sized shopping guide at www.climatecounts.org. Consumers will also be able to look up companies’ rankings by texting “cc company name” (for example, “cc Nike”) to 30644 from their cell phones so they can make climate-friendly consumer decisions while they shop. (This “Climate Counts On-To-Go” service is done in partnership with Working Assets Wireless.)
Climate Counts developed the Scorecard with input from a panel of business and climate experts from leading non-governmental organizations and academic institutions. Criteria were chosen for their effectiveness at accomplishing a single goal – stopping global warming.
Climate Counts researchers then used these criteria to rate companies based on a point system for climate-related actions and data verified with the companies themselves.
GreenOrder, a leading sustainability strategy firm, provided strategic guidance on the Climate Counts program, assisted in the development of the scoring system, and verified the scoring results for accuracy.
“When we looked at the field, we saw that no one was grading companies on climate from the consumer point of view,” said Wood Turner, Climate Counts Project Director. “Most of the recent attention has been on what people and families can do to reduce their own climate footprint, such as buying compact fluorescent light bulbs or energy-efficient appliances. But consumers have even more power. They can motivate companies to take meaningful action to fight global warming. We’ve created this tool to help people flex their consumer muscle.”