Back to School Sustainability

Whether you are a seasoned college student, a high school senior or a prepared parent, the arrival of school brings with it many to-do lists. With respect to our natural environment, the top priority should always be in reducing the amount of STUFF you buy and repurposing old gear.

When you absolutely NEED to buy new stuff, your choices and voices can prod corporations into taking a more aggressive approach on climate change. In fact, building a movement to solve the climate crisis rests on a foundation of decisions we make every day.

Here are some quick tips based on the Climate Counts Scorecard to make your school shopping adventures more climate wise:

1. Clothing – Thanks in part to relentless TV ads about back-to-school clothing sales, parents feel obligated to make sure little Suzie and Tommy are showing up with the hippest threads on Day 1 of the school year. If you find you or your children fall victim to inadequate footwear or other clothing, consider getting your new apparel from companies like Timberland (86 out of 100 points on CC’s scorecard), Nike (85) Levi’s (74) or Gap (62). All of these companies are members

of Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP).

2. Laptops – When searching for a computer to procrastinate from schoolwork or join the online debate of Mac vs. PC, feel confident in your choice as you reach for a HP (83), Sony (80), Toshiba (77), or Dell (71). All these companies are making enviable strides to reducing their GHG emissions. Sorry Mac fans, Apple (60) limps into the gate as the lowest in the electronics sector on CC’s scorecard.

3. Airlines – Whether your flying home for Christmas or heading to Daytona for spring break, considering flying Delta (56) or Southwest (55), the two highest performing companies in the airline sector.

4. Shipping – For those moms out there who are keen on sending care packages, you’ll want to reduce your carbon footprint with UPS (80).

5. Furniture – When surfing the web on your eco-friendly HP, you’ll want to be sitting on Herman Miller (63) or Steelcase (60) furniture. Both companies scored well according to the Climate Counts Scorecard. If you don’t need furniture though, the planet will appreciate it even more.

If you already splurged on new stuff for the coming school year, then tuck our pocket shopping guide inside your wallet for future use. In a world saturated with advertising, it can be difficult to make the right choice. Next time you need to go shopping, you will be armed with the knowledge to have a more sustainable back to school shopping experience!

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