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Major Consumer Brands Improve Climate Scores 54%

Major consumer brands continued to make strong progress in corporate climate responsibility (CCR) in the past year, according to the latest review by Climate Counts.

The 2011 assessment results show Climate Counts' average scores have improved 54% since 2007, while nearly two-thirds of companies improved their standing from 2010. Climate Counts assessed 136 companies in 16 industry sectors for their 5th annual scorecard.

"We're witnessing a remarkable shift across the corporate community," says Mike Bellamente, Climate Counts Project Director. "As business risks associated with climate change continue to grow, sustainability is becoming intertwined with long-term strategy at the highest levels of business. Our optimism is tempered by the reality that global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, but corporate leaders appear to be on the right track."

Climate Counts is most encouraged by the movement at the top end of the rankings this year, with 13 companies scoring 80 points or higher (out of a maximum 100 points), representing more than triple the number of companies to achieve that threshold in 2010.

"Leading edge companies are demonstrating how climate leadership enhances their bottom line," said Bellamente. "Of the 20 largest companies scored, 17 are scoring at the highest level."

Unilever emerged as the top company for the first time ever, supplanting Nike, which held the top spot for three consecutive years. Unilever exemplifies the integrated approach to CCR that Climate Counts is seeing from industry leaders. Their "Sustainable Living Plan" enables Unilever to identify every opportunity across their operations to increase efficiency and reduce emissions.

Climate Counts scores the largest companies (by revenue) in 16 industry sectors on their actions to address climate change. The companies are assessed on a 100-point scale based on 22 criteria. The criteria measure a company's efforts to assess their climate footprint, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support progress on climate legislation, and communicate their efforts clearly and comprehensively to consumers.

This year's Climate Counts sector leaders are as follows:

  • Airlines: Southwest Airlines (55)
  • Apparel/Accessories: Nike (85)
  • Beverages - Beer: Anheuser-Busch (57)
  • Commercial Banks: Bank of America (82)
  • Consumer Shipping: UPS (80)
  • Electronics: Hewlett-Packard (83)
  • Food Products: Unilever (88)
  • Food Services: Starbucks (70)
  • Home and Office Furnishings: Herman Miller and Masco (63)
  • Hotels: Marriott (73)
  • Household Products: L'Oreal (78)
  • Internet/Software: Microsoft (68)
  • Large Appliances: AB Electrolux (80)
  • Media: General Electric (77)
  • Pharmaceuticals: AstraZeneca (86)
  • Toys & Children's Equipment: Hasbro (52)

A report and the full 2011 Climate Counts review are available at www.climatecounts.org. The non-profit organization also has a voluntary scoring and benchmarking program called Climate Counts Industry Innovators (i2).

Bart King is a PR consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications.


Bart King is the principal of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. He is also an associate editor for Sustainable Brands. Follow him @bart_kingGoogle+

[Read more about Bart King]


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