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Amtrak, REI, Timberland Join Climate Counts Industry Innovators

climate counts logoSix charter companies – Amtrak, Ben & Jerry’s, Clif Bar, REI, Shaklee and Timberland – have signed on as charter members of the Climate Counts Industry Innovators (i2) project.

The i2 program extends the scope of Climate Counts to track businesses not currently ranked in its annual scores.

Climate Counts said it created the program to help companies that are investing in climate-related efforts to “deepen their market impact,” according to a press release.

For its part, REI said it is looking for business-based solutions where the financial performance and social/environmental benefits are mutually reinforcing, said Kevin Hagen, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, REI.

“We find that when we look at environmental metrics, we identify new opportunities and risks,” Hagen said. “In many ways we’re just getting started, but we’ve already seen real business benefits. Pursuing our aspiration of being climate neutral is helping us deliver on the expectation of both financial and environmental performance for our co-op members.”

Each of the six charter companies met the top designation in Climate Counts’ rating system, which so far has been applied to about 150 companies.

The Climate Counts scoring ranks companies on criteria in four areas:

– measurement of climate impact;

– reduction of climate impact;

– support for public policy that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions;

– external transparency and clarity on climate actions.

“True climate solutions that can also boost the economy and our jobs outlook demand innovation and action from businesses, and our charter companies have shown they are committed to making climate action a competitive advantage,” said Climate Counts Executive Director Wood Turner.

As part of the effort, Climate Counts is rolling out a companion Web site, i2.climatecounts.org.

Companies can initiate a Climate Counts company benchmark score by going through a self-evaluation on the site. Then, companies can Climate Counts to review the company to determine a public score.

Amtrak, which agreed to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions from diesel locomotives by 6 percent from 2003 to 2010 (1998-2001 baseline) as a charter member of the Chicago Climate Exchange, is using some newer engine technologies and operating practices to attain its reduction commitment, said Roy Deitchman, Vice President of EHS, Amtrak.

“There are now ongoing initiatives at Amtrak to trial alternative fuels, use wind and solar energy for signal and yard operations and purchase new, even more efficient, locomotives,” Deitchman said.

In January, Climate Counts and Angus Reid studied the gap between real and perceived sustainability action by top North American brands including Kraft, General Mills, Kellogg, Groupe Danone, Nike, Gap, P&G, L’Oreal, Microsoft and Amazon.com.

The study showed that General Mills, Kraft and Kellogg all have perception scores of 79 or above, but actual scores of 58 or below.

On the flip side, SAB Miller has a lowly perception score of 14, but an actual score of 44. Unilever has a perception score of 32 and an actual score of 79. Groupe Danone has a perception score of 33 and an actual score of 64.

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