How can you find out how greener a company actually is? It's not an easy task to wade through news, company websites, press releases and stories, blog entries, tweets and consumer feedback forums to get a full picture of a company's environmental impact.

One way to get around the research is to find a third party who has already done their homework. Climate Counts is such a third party. Here's what they list under "What We Believe":

•The climate crisis demands a much higher level of public awareness and action than currently exists.

•Business is the most powerful institution on the planet and can be a potent force for good.

•The climate crisis represents a threat to all living beings, but also a unique business opportunity to help improve and enhance living standards worldwide through cleaner, more sustainable technologies, products and services.

•Working together, consumers and companies can raise awareness, change behavior, and move markets to promote environmentally and economically sound solutions to the climate crisis.

•Consumers want to support companies that are taking positive, proactive measures to reduce their climate footprints.

•Most companies want to be good corporate citizens, though they often need encouragement and support from their customers to justify taking action.

•Consumers and companies alike need rigorous tools and reliable information to make informed decisions on climate change.

•Transparency and accountability can be powerful tools to promote change.

•The window of opportunity to take aggressive action to fight climate change is small and getting smaller — the time to act is now.

They categorize their listings under a bunch of sectors, from Airlines and Beverages to Pharmaceuticals and Toys. You can see how each sector's players line up -- Google is (maybe not surprisingly) killing the tech sector -- and drill down into a company's individual report (Apple is not doing well).

I just found out about these guys yesterday at the greaterthan > conference" when I heard Wood Turner, executive director, speak about their work. It's good stuff.

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Shea Gunther is a podcaster, writer, and entrepreneur living in Portland, Maine. He hosts the popular podcast "Marijuana Today Daily" and was a founder of Renewable Choice Energy, the country's leading provider of wind credits and Green Options. He plays a lot of ultimate frisbee and loves bad jokes.

Climate Counts tracks greener companies
The nonprofit organization Climate Counts scores companies annually based on their commitment to addressing climate change.