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April, 2012

April 16th, 2012

Climate Counts Launches “Be the Change” Campaign in Advance of Earth Day 2012

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” - Mahatma Gandhi

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better. It’s not.”  - A changed Once-ler from Dr. Seuss’s children’s book, The Lorax

Each year since 1970, people around the world have united on Earth Day (April 22) to promote appreciation of the planet’s natural environment.

This year, Climate Counts is asking consumers and companies alike to “be the change” by going beyond the one day Earth Day celebration.  We’re asking our followers to commit to at least one new habit that will reduce your climate impact over the course of the year.

Here are some ways you can do your part:

Shop Right! Download the Climate Counts iPhone App or bookmark our company climate scores in your web browser to know which companies have committed to measuring, reducing and reporting their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  Make a commitment to buying what you need from companies that are leading by example.

Reduce Energy for FREE - Changing out light bulbs is a no-brainer, but there are some cool technologies out there that don’t cost a thing.   ePlusGreen offers free software that can help minimize energy from computer usage by up to 30%. Click here to download ePlusGreen’s free technology or visit:  www.eplusgreen.com/

Set Goals for Yourself - Want to live healthy, green, and sustainably but not sure where to start?  Join Practically Green to see your score, get personalized suggestion for steps to take and products to use.  Compare and share points earned with friends and family. Stay motivated and have fun doing it:  www.practicallygreen.com

Engage Others - Constructive debate can be a great tool for education.  When discussing climate change, make sure you are armed with facts and unbiased information: 

United States Global Change Research Program

Businesses for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy

GreenBiz.com

Instead of feeling guilty about what you’re not doing to save the world, take pride in something that you can do day in and day out.

Remember, earth day is every day!

April 2nd, 2012

Enter to win- i2 Photo Challenge!

Pop Quiz: What do the following companies all have in common?

  • Amtrak
  • Annie’s Homegrown
  • Ben & Jerry’s
  • ClifBar
  • Kohl’s
  • Levi’s
  • REI
  • Shaklee
  • Timberland

Answer: These companies are all members of the Climate Counts Industry Innovators (i2) program.   i2 companies support Climate Counts mission of educating consumers while holding themselves to the highest standard of climate leadership.

As a way of saying thanks to these companies, the winner of our Climate Counts i2 Challenge will win a $50 gift card to the i2 company of their choice.

How do you win???

Simple: email us a picture of a time you supported an i2 company. It could be a photo of you atop a mountain decked out in REI gear, a shot of your friends boarding the Amtrak to see the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., or perhaps your neighbors enjoying a refreshing cone of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.  The person with the coolest picture (as judged by your peers) wins!

You can send pictures with a brief explanation to us at info@climatecounts.org with “Climate Counts i2 Challenge” in the subject line.  All photos will be compiled and added to our Facebook page and blog, with judging to be completed by May 7, 2012.

Deadline for submissions is Tuesday May 1, 2012.

The winner will receive one $50 gift card to the i2 company of choice.   If you’re one of the top 5 pictures we pick, we’ll send you a FREE Climate Counts t-shirt to show our appreciation!

Cheers!

Susan Torman

Climate Counts, Communications Intern

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April 2nd, 2012

On Climate Messaging, the Devil is in the Details

To read the original article on Huffington Post visit: http://huff.to/HEvRvd

If climate change is humanity’s greatest challenge, a close second must be uniting people around the common goal of overcoming it.

As a country, the U.S. has proven inept at tuning out pundits, skeptics and even presidential hopefuls intent on clouding the climate issue. It has reached the point that there is neither an esteemed enough scientist, nor a concrete enough climate model to withstand the calls of dubiousness from a politically-riled opposition.

While the debate languishes on in the U.S. about the reality of climate change, other members of the global community have already transitioned into the next phase of the process: tweaking market-based models and emissions trading mechanisms to better level the competitive playing field. These efforts are often accomplished in collaboration with (rather than in spite of) members of the private sector.

In England, Sony, Vodafone and Unilever recently pledged support for the greening efforts of the country’s energy and climate change secretary, Ed Davey. Last July, Australia implemented a price on carbon pollution backed by corporate players such as Ikea and GE. In Germany, there have been continued boasts of economic growth on the road to greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. To be sure, these countries have all experienced some measure of difficulty in finding the right balance of government involvement in the process, but such is the case when acting as pioneers for the global good.

All the while, the U.S. ranks 121st out of 132 countries on Yale’s climate change performance indicator – even lower than developing nations like 93rd ranked China (see Angel Hsu’s article for more on this).

Washington Post opinion writer Michal Gerson recently likened the climate argument in the U.S. to a culture war in which “scientific debate has been sucked into a broader national argument about the role of government.” To lump the long-term health of the planet with the debate on whether or not contraception should be covered by healthcare seems a gross distortion of national priorities, no?

But, even as the polarizing nature of the climate conversation has stymied level-headed discussion in congress, awareness on the issue continues to mount from the unlikeliest of sources: most notably fiscally conservative republicans in New Hampshire and god-fearing members of the Southern Baptist church.

Another cause for optimism (at least what counts for optimism in the battle of climate messaging) is how the recent spate of record-breaking temperatures triggered a wave of media coverage showcasing the expertise of climate scientists. Although we’re constantly reminded that undulating weather patterns don’t always represent changing climate patterns, it is encouraging to see mainstream exposure in what has proven to be an ever-declining market for climate publicity.

Indeed, perhaps all that is needed to overcome humanity’s greatest challenge is more extreme weather and a better media relations team.

-Mike Bellamente, Project Director - Climate Counts

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-bellamente/climate-messaging_b_1386393.html

April 2nd, 2012

Casting Stones at Apple and Facebook opens the door to Amazon’s Glass House

Recently, the Environmental Leader brought to light a blog post from a member of  Amazon’s Web Services team in which he concluded, “[I] find myself wondering if [...] large solar farms are really somewhere between a bad idea and pure marketing, where the environmental impact is purely optical.” One of the author’s examples was Apple’s iDataCenter facility at Maiden, North Carolina.  After running the figures on a number of variables, the author determined that solar projects are both space and cost inefficient.

While the author raises several valid points, he fails to mention the strides that Apple is making to reduce their overall climate impact- a concept that Amazon has been woefully slow to embrace.  Climate Counts, a nonprofit that rates companies on their climate leadership, most recently scored Apple at a striding 60 out of 100 points, while Amazon remained stuck with 11 points, dead last in the internet/software sector.

When visiting the sustainability section of Apple’s web site, it is clear to consumers that they have taken responsibility and are working to reduce the impact of their carbon footprint.  In fact, even as their revenue has grown, their greenhouse gas emissions per dollar of revenue has decreased by 15.4 percent since 2008.

Amazon, in contrast, has made seemingly little effort to measure and reduce their companywide greenhouse gas emissions while providing only cursory level commitments to reducing their overall environmental impact.  When compared against other Internet and software companies, Amazon sustainability initiatives are sub-par.

For example, eBay, another e-commerce company, scored 64 points based on CC’s scorecard.  Upon visiting eBay’s sustainability webpage, consumers are provided with information on a variety of sustainability initiatives, from advancing transparency through the Carbon Disclosure Project to Green eBay, which was created by 40 eBay employees who wanted to make their company a truly green place to work. eBay has distinguished itself by strongly advocating for comprehensive public policy that addresses climate change and would lead to market-wide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and the growth of renewable energy capacity.

Another example of a software company making strides to reduce their carbon footprint is Microsoft.  Leading the way in CC’s internet/software scorecard sector with 68 points, Microsoft is strongly committed to developing solutions that address environmental challenges while encouraging policymakers to stimulate technology innovation. They provide ways for both their buyers and their employees to reduce their environmental impact from recycling electronics to participating in their corporate campus transit system.

Leading by example, eBay and Microsoft integrate sustainability into their business plans seamlessly.  It is the responsibility of other companies in their sector, such as Amazon, to follow suit and take action to reduce their climate impact.

- Susan Torman, Communications Intern- Climate Counts


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