Sizing Up Big Business’ Climate Footprint

Who’s contributing to global warming, and who’s engaged in the
fight against it? Coke or Pepsi? Yahoo or Google? McDonalds or,
well, any other fast food? For the environmentally conscious
consumer, the newly released
Climate Counts Company Scorecard may be able to
provide some answers.

The scorecard, which measures how ?many of the world’s corporate
giants are responding to climate change, was released this week by
the nonprofit Climate Counts, a collaboration between organic
yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm and the environmental nonprofit
Clean
Air-Cool Planet
. One of the main criteria factored into the
scores was whether the companies even measured their own climate
impact. Of the 56 evaluated companies, 16 scored less than 10
points on the 100-point scale for not even taking that first step.
Other factors taken into account include the companies’ efforts to
reduce emissions, their public disclosure of environmental
information, and whether they back or block legislation aimed at
tackling climate change.

Users can now visit the website to find out how all 56 companies
fared individually, or visitors can print out a pocket-sized
reference card with the information. Soon, Climate Counts plans to
make the information available through text messages, so that users
can find out about companies directly from their cell phones.

During a conference call announcing the project, green business
guru Joel
Makower
, who serves on the Climate Counts board of directors,
said the Climate Counts Company Scorecard should encourage
companies to ?be more open about their climate change efforts. The
list of companies will continue to grow, and the rankings will be
updated with documentation on how the companies are working to
reduce their climate impact.

While the Climate Counts Company Scorecard is a handy new tool
for tracking companies’ global warming footprints, it’s not a
catch-all resource for the conscious consumer. Social issues like
treatment of labor and other environmental criteria, such as trash
production and water pollution, aren’t taken into account. The
project’s director, Wood Turner, says the scorecard is a ‘narrow
perspective on climate’ and there are ‘plenty of other tools out
there who do an overall focus.’ (For some of those, check out the
Corporate Knights Forum and the
Corporate Responsibility Officer’s 100 best
Corporate Citizens
).

While that ‘narrow perspective’ might be a shortcoming for some,
the Climate Counts Company Scorecard can still serve as an
indicator of who some of the environmental zeros and heroes are in
today’s corporate landscape. And the fact that no one on the list
(including sponsor Stonyfield Farms) scored above an 80 out of 100
should remind people that when it comes to climate change, there
are no winners. There is only room for improvement.

Go there >>
Climate Counts

Go there, too >>
Clean
Air-Cool Planet

And there >>
Stonyfield Farm

Related Links:

Related Links from the Utne Reader Archive:

Comments? Story tips?
Write a letter to the editor

Like this? Want more?Subscribe to
Utne Reader

UTNE
UTNE
In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.