A recent report issued by New Scientist has shown a fascinating discrepancy between consumer perception of the "greenness" of various companies and the actual environmental performance of those companies. The study queried 30,000 consumers about more than 100 companies, and the results proved the urgent need for an accurate and objective platform that benchmarks actual corporate responsibility. Just one example — Del Monte ranked #2 in public perception, but it is one of the worst environmental performers in the food category (check out the interactive graph).
Fortunately the corporate responsibility experts at ClimateCount.org have created an Industry Innovators program called i2 that rates companies based on their climate performance. Today six major industry leaders — Amtrak, Ben & Jerry’s, Clif Bar, REI, Shaklee and Timberland — announced their charter membership to the i2 program.
Each company submitted to a rigorous assessment on their supply chain's carbon emissions, their commitment to reducing energy consumption, their support of clean energy public policy, and their transparency on communicating with their consumers about climate impacts.
It sounds like a process that would scare off most big companies, but according to Climate Counts Executive Director Wood Turner, the program can support companies that are just starting down the road of energy and carbon management:
The beauty of our i2 program is that it can apply to companies at any stage of corporate climate leadership. Companies at an early stage of addressing climate can use the scoring process to get a roadmap for the work ahead, while others may want a score to communicate with consumers and stakeholders about how they’ve innovated to save money and fight climate change.
Through a partnership with environmental data super-nerds at the Good Guide, the program has assessed the climate performance of more than 100 companies, giving each a score (out of 104 possible points) of either — RED (stuck), YELLOW (starting) or GREEN (striding):
You can check out their site and peruse the biggest brands in 16 consumer categories and how they score. I believe consumers have been waiting for a rating system like this for a long, long time, and the iPhone app now makes all this great data available while you're on the go so you can, as the Climate Counts video explains, really vote with your dollar.
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