The federal government is dragging its heels on meaningful climate and energy legislation. Fortunately, though, many leading corporations are refusing to be as complacent.
Just last week, the non-profit organization Climate Counts released its annual review of 90 top companies, and the results show that corporate climate commitment is increasingly becoming the norm for well-managed, forward-thinking businesses.
Each year, Climate Counts scores the largest companies (by revenue) in sixteen industry sectors on their actions to address climate change. (Scores for four other sectors were released early this year). 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.
This year, overall scores improved 14 percent over 2009. Nike had the top score for the third straight year, but Climate Counts reports that other companies are closing the gap. For example, 11 companies now score over 75 points out of a possible 100. Five “surging” companies improved their scores by 20 or more points—led by commercial bank PNC Financial Services’ 40-point improvement. Since Climate Counts’ first scores were launched in 2007, the average company score has improved from 31 points to 50.1 points.
This year’s Climate Counts sector leaders are:
- Airlines: Southwest Airlines
- Apparel: Nike
- Commercial Banks: Bank of America
- Beverages/Beer: Anheuser-Busch InBev
- Consumer Shipping: UPS
- Electronics: Hewlett-Packard
- Food Products: (tie) Stonyfield Farm, Unilever
- Food Services: Starbucks
- Hotels: Marriott
- Household Products: L’Oreal
- Internet/Software: Microsoft
- Media: General Electric
“Corporate climate commitment has graduated. It is now the norm for well-managed, forward-thinking businesses,” said Wood Turner, Climate Counts Executive Director. “We’re excited about that 50-point milestone. When we launched four years ago, we issued a clear challenge, and companies appear ready to see the leadership bar raised.”