Climate counts: Corporate climate leaders make big gains in 2011

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DURHAM, N.H. -- Climate Counts' 2011 review indicates upward momentum in corporate climate responsibility (CCR) by major consumer brands over the past year. Unilever emerged as the top company for the first time ever, supplanting Nike which held the top spot for three consecutive years. The 2011 assessment results, now available online and through the Climate Counts iPhone App, show that 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,' said 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, the 2011 top scoring company, 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.

'Unilever is delighted to have emerged as the top performer in the Climate Counts company ranking for 2011,' said Gavin Neath, Senior Vice President of Sustainability. 'The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan commits us to reduce dramatically the water, waste and greenhouse gases generated by our factories, and to halve the overall environmental impact of our products. We are making solid progress towards these goals, and attaining the standard of excellence set by Climate Counts is an important indication of how we rate with respect to our peers.'

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 and on their iPhone App. The non-profit organization also has a voluntary scoring and benchmarking program called Climate Counts Industry Innovators (i2).

About Climate Counts

Climate Counts is a non-profit organization bringing consumers and companies together to address climate change. 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. Since 2007, Climate Counts researchers have used the scorecard to 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.

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