November 18th, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 18, 2009
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Third Annual Climate Counts Scores Show Economic Downturn Doesn’t
Detract from Deepening Corporate Commitment to Climate
Nike Tops List, eBay Surges and Study Shows Innovation
Driving Top Businesses as Copenhagen Talks Near
MANCHESTER, NH – Despite a sustained economic downturn, leading corporations appear to be strengthening their voluntary response to climate change. With the release of its third annual corporate climate scores for 90 well-known consumer companies, the non-profit organization Climate Counts pointed to a 22% increase in scores by 81 of the companies, as well as significant gains among those previously in the index’s lowest tier.
For the second straight year, Nike’s score of 83 points (out of a possible 100) topped the list. For the first time all of the 12 companies scored in the electronics sector and the four companies evaluated in the consumer shipping sector have now earned a score above 50 points, or what Climate Counts considers “striding” companies (in contrast with those “starting” companies earning 13-49 points and those “stuck” companies with 12 points or less). In recent years, these two sectors each have seen significant competitive energy around corporate sustainability, which appears to have had the effect of elevating scores – and substantive innovation efforts.
“Competition – the most fundamental tenet of a thriving global marketplace – will define the future of corporate climate action and sustainability,” said Climate Counts Executive Director Wood Turner. “Our scores show that companies are motivated to act when they may not measure up to other companies on their response to issues that matter to people. Climate change is certainly one of those issues, and companies in every major consumer sector have dialed up their efforts in an evolving economy to make the reduction of global warming pollution a competitive advantage.”
Climate Counts also found that the improved scores of a number of the companies it evaluates were more than just incremental. Scores surged for previously low-scoring companies like eBay (a jump of 48 points), US Airways (up 43 points to match most of the top scorers in a relatively low-scoring sector), Apple (up 41 points), and Levi Strauss (up 36 points) when many such companies became much more engaged in quantifying and reducing their impact on climate change and in supporting public policy on climate (or opposing the climate positions of groups like the US Chamber of Commerce). Climate Counts uses a 22-criteria scorecard to track corporate climate action in four key areas: measurement of impact; reduction of impact; engagement on public policy related to climate change; and openness and transparency with consumers on corporate climate activities.
“Climate Counts is one of the key external benchmarks we consider in evaluating our progress to address climate change,” said Rob Bernard, Chief Environmental Strategist from Microsoft, up 23 points in the latest round of scores. “We appreciate the work they do to provide the marketplace with a framework for assessing companies’ actions to address the pressing issue of climate change.”
John Donahoe, CEO of eBay Inc. said: “At eBay, we believe that solving the climate crisis requires business ingenuity and increased transparency. The leap in our Climate Counts score is a direct reflection of the focus we are giving to this issue as a business.”
“Our new scores show that many, many companies have begun to take their responsibility for climate action seriously,” said Turner. “But the onus is also on consumers. It’s time now for them to show business that corporate climate action does not go unnoticed. Companies will continue to see climate protection as an opportunity when consumers tell them in no uncertain terms that inaction is simply not an option.”
To augment consumer action tools on its website, Climate Counts will release an iPhone application later this year to help consumers not only access company climate scores while shopping but also send messages to those companies about their scores.
About Climate Counts
Climate Counts is a non-profit organization bringing consumers and companies together in the fight against global climate change. Launched with financial support from organics pioneer Stonyfield Farm, 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 now rate the climate actions of nearly 150 companies (representing approximately 3,000 brands) in 16 industry sectors. Companies are given the opportunity to confirm or provide public data sources. Information on all scored companies is available at www.climatecounts.org.