Scorecard to Help Consumers Consider Climate Change When Making Purchases

Climate Counts, a nonprofit organization, released a scorecard that allows consumers to factor a company's track record on climate change into their purchasing decisions for everything from sneakers to soft drinks.

The Climate Counts Company Scorecard, released on June 19, rates 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, 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, 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 and "The Climate Counts Company Scorecard makes this connection possible by giving consumers the information they need to make climate-conscious decisions."

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 Consumers also will 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 article originally appeared in the 06/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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