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Climate Counts Wants Shoppers To Make Climate-Based Buying Decisions

Climate Counts, a new nonprofit group, has released a scorecard that ranks consumer companies, grouped by industry, on how they measure greenhouse gas emissions, their plans to reduce them, their support or opposition to regulation, and how fully they disclose those activities, The New York Times reports.

Gary Hirshberg, chief executive of the yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm, is the nonprofits’ chairman. Its goals are to help investors choose stocks and motivate corporations to make changes. In that respect, the nonprofits’ goals seem aligned with some of the work Ceres has undertaken to prompt corporations to specify how they are addressing risks associated with global warming. But what’s unique with climatecounts is its focus on consumers, rather than shareholders.

No company achieved a perfect 100. 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. Climate Counts will put the scores on its Web site, climatecounts.org.

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. The nonprofit plans to update the scores every year.

What’s not clear is Climate Count’s plan to get in front of consumers.

A recent report from Ceres and Calvert found that only 47 percent of the members of the S&P 500 index responded to a request last year for information on their assessment of climate change risk.

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