September, 2009

September 30th, 2009

Strong Climate Business in Michigan?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Climate Counts, info@climatecounts.org

September 30, 2009 (603) 216-3788

Strong Climate Business in Michigan?

Michigan-based Steelcase and Whirlpool Have Top Climate Counts Scores Among Furniture and Large Appliance Makers

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Two Michigan-based companies are leading their sectors on climate commitment, according to new scores released today by Climate Counts. The non-profit reviewed 21 of the top companies in the Furniture & Home Furnishings and Large Appliance manufacturing sectors, and Steelcase and Whirlpool came out ahead. Whirlpool (61 points) and Steelcase (56 points) were the only companies in either of the two sectors to receive the Climate Counts “striding” designation (50 points or higher out of a possible 100). With estimates suggesting that 2009 job losses in Michigan may top 300,000, these two companies point to a possible trend: the alignment of corporate climate leadership with future economic stability in a region hard hit by the current recession.

“We’re certainly pleased to see solid corporate climate leadership coming out of Michigan and are hopeful it bodes well for the future growth of good, green jobs. We will be paying close attention to the efforts of these companies to show continued improvement,” said Wood Turner, Climate Counts Executive Director.

The Climate Counts Company Scorecard gives all consumers concerned with the climate crisis the ability to make informed purchasing decisions. Users can also visit ClimateCounts.org to send e-mail and Twitter messages to companies about their climate actions. Climate Counts plans to release an iPhone application later this year (in partnership with Mobile Feat) to help consumers not only access company climate scores while shopping but also send messages to those companies about their scores.

“It has never been a more important time for consumers to let companies know how concerned they are about climate change,” said Turner. “The only way to ensure coordinated, substantive action from companies and governments worldwide is for people to make their voices heard.”

Furniture Sector

Other companies in the Furniture sector show signs of following the sector leaders, or “starting” in the Climate Counts parlance. Herman Miller, another Michigan-based company, scored a 46, finishing second in Home Furnishing. Masco, maker of the KraftMaid brand of cabinets and other home furnishings, scored 39, while mattress maker Sealy and furniture maker La-Z-Boy both scored 16. Leggett & Platt scored 15 points, and HNI, maker of Allsteel and Hearth & Home products, scored 13. The remaining seven companies scored in the sector were considered “stuck” on climate change by Climate Counts, each scoring four points or below. That group included five of Sealy’s top mattress-making competitors.

Large Appliance Sector

The Large Appliance sector, makers of products responsible for approximately 20% of household energy use and significant household expenses, comprises companies that appear collectively more focused on climate change than furniture companies. Like the previously scored Electronics sector, appliance makers score relatively high. Following Whirlpool in the rankings were LG (49 points), Bosch and Siemens (45), and Electrolux (45). Miele and Emerson had respectively 23 and 21 points, and Kenmore – Sears’ appliance brand – came in at the bottom with 17 points. While all the companies in this sector show efforts to provide energy-efficient products to consumers, their efforts to reduce overall companywide impact on climate change vary significantly. (General Electric, also a maker of large appliances, has been scored previously by Climate Counts and currently scores 71.)

The Climate Counts Company Scorecard

Climate Counts scores companies (by revenue) on their actions to address climate change. The companies are scored on a 0-to-100 point scale based on 22 criteria that measure companies’ efforts to assess their own climate footprint, reduce their emissions, support (or block) progress on major climate legislation, and communicate their efforts clearly and comprehensively to consumers.

The Climate Counts Company Scorecard was developed with oversight from a panel of business and climate experts from leading non-governmental organizations and academic institutions. Criteria were chosen for their effectiveness at accomplishing a single goal – solving the global climate crisis. Since 2007, Climate Counts researchers have used these criteria to rate 143 companies (representing approximately 3,000 brands) in 16 industry sectors. Companies were given the opportunity to confirm or provide information gathered from public data sources. Information on all of the 143 scored companies is available at www.climatecounts.org. Updated scores for previously reviewed sectors are slated for release later this year.


About Climate Counts

Climate Counts is a non-profit organization bringing consumers and companies together in the fight against global climate change. It was launched with financial support from organics pioneer Stonyfield Farm. Please visit www.climatecounts.org for the full scores and more information.

September 28th, 2009

KLD blog post discusses green, greening companies

KLD Research & Analytics, Inc. — one of Newsweek’s Green Rankings primary research partners — discusses green companies vs. products with Climate Counts ED Wood Turner. Check out the Sept. 28th blog post below, written by KLD’s Alan Petrillo.


September 21st, 2009

Newsweek ranks 500 greenest companies

Newsweek’s Green Rankings, featuring the 500 largest U.S. companies, hits newsstands nationwide this week.  Newsweek assessed the pool in three key areas, including: environmental impact, green policy, and reputation.

Hewlett Packard tops the list, followed by a number of other electronic and pharmaceutical companies. Usual suspects - Starbucks and Nike - also made the top ten. On the other end of the spectrum, Peabody Energy finished deadlast, along with fellow energy corporations and ConAgra Foods.

Newsweek pulled in Trustco, KLD Research & Analytics, and CorporateRegister.com to help analyze and compile the metrics. Climate Counts ED Wood Turner was on the initiative’s advisory panel.

The publication cites some obstacles they faced in ranking companies, including company disclosure of metrics. In future years, Newsweek hopes to strengthen their ranking process and gain increased participation on behalf of the companies being ranked.  Nonetheless, the rankings provide another voice for corporate responsibility when in comes to the environment, and another outlet for consumers and investors to participate in this call to action.

Read more about the rankings and methodology here and here.

And check out blog posts from Joel Makower, of GreenBiz, here: Who’s Invested in Newsweek’s Least-Green Companies? (Maybe You)

September 3rd, 2009

Raising your voice (and why it matters)

This fall Climate Counts will be releasing our third annual climate scores for the core group of 93 companies we’ve scored (we’ve scored almost 150 overall).  From 2007 to 2008, we saw score improvements among 84 percent of the companies we evaluated.  Over time, companies have become more actively engaged in our process, as they’ve come to understand the value of an ever-improving score in strengthening their environmental credibility with consumers.  Nearly every day, we hear from a new company acknowledging the once and future power of climate-awakened consumers everywhere. When the issue clearly matters to you, it matters to the companies who want your business.

Companies might seem inaccessible, unreachable and unshakable by individuals like you.  But the truth is, they spend more time and money on researching the motivations and demands of their consumers than you realize.  So when social media truly exploded this year, once again the power of the consumer voice got yet another shot in the arm.

Facebook walls and Twitter pages allow users to question, call-out, or comment about companies’ actions (or lack thereof).  And it all happens in real time.  Your demand for climate action no longer has to languish in a stack of mail on an executive assistant’s desk, or in a bloated e-mail inbox that nobody reads.  It’s instantly out there, in a public arena, not only for company reps to see – but for friends and acquaintances around the world to track as well.  And it doesn’t stop there.  Company reps can reply, friends can RT @, conversations get #, and a consumer movement takes off.  All of a sudden one voice doesn’t feel so small.

So where do you start?  How to do you find these companies?

At Climate Counts, we’ve done some of the legwork by creating a new tool to help you find, follow, and tweet about companies on Twitter.  You’ll find the Twitter handles for companies on their individual Climate Counts company pages.  Click on the Twitter icon or select from the Twitter handles listed below, which link to companies Twitter accounts.  Even if a company does not have a Twitter account, you can still speak out about that company’s Climate Counts score to draw attention to what they doing or not doing to address the issue.


If you’re not a Twitter user or if the 140-character count is getting you down, you can still always continue to e-mail companies directly from our company pages.  By clicking the envelope icon on these pages, you can customize and send letters directly to company representatives and easily encourage your friends to do the same.

This year, with international climate talks in Copenhagen on the horizon and climate legislation continuing to wend its way through Congress, the need for serious corporate attention to climate change has never been greater.  And what’s at stake is greater too, as evidence of climate change seems more and more visible everyday. This fall, we hope you’ll join us in showing companies that climate change – and your voice – matters!

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