Friday, April 16, 2010

Climate Counts: Businesses Combating Climate Change

Climate Counts is a non-profit group that was launched over three years ago to help business leaders combat the climate crisis. Despite an abundance of irresponsible enterprises, some businesses are distinguishing themselves through laudable efforts to engage the serious problem of climate change.

Climate Counts brings consumers and companies together in the fight against global climate change. The Climate Counts Company has developed a scorecard with criteria chosen for their effectiveness at solving the global climate crisis. Since 2007, Climate Counts researchers have used these criteria to rate the climate actions of nearly 150 companies, representing approximately 3,000 brands, in 16 industry sectors.

Late this winter, Climate Counts launched its Industry Innovators (i2) project. Climate Counts created i2 to help companies investing in real climate solutions deepen their market impact. The six charter companies (Amtrak, Ben & Jerry's, Clif Bar, Recreational Equipment, Shaklee, and Timberland) went through the rigorous Climate Counts i2 scoring process. Each of the six charter members earned Climate Counts' top designation.

The Climate Counts scoring ranks companies on criteria in four key areas: Measurement of climate impact; reduction of climate impact; support for public policy that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and external transparency and clarity on climate actions - to spur greater corporate climate responsibility.

Companies interested in getting a Climate Counts company benchmark can use the i2 site go through a process of self-evaluation and follow it by requesting Climate Counts' own review of the company to determine a final, public score.

The i2 program applies to companies whether they are beginning the process of going green or more deeply involved in the process of developing sustainable practices. Companies looking into a more sustainable approach can use the i2 scoring process to get a roadmap for the work ahead, while others may want a score on their marketing communications efforts for consumers and stakeholders.

One of the charter members is Amtrak and they have adopted a mission that is ”Safer, Greener, Healthier." They have agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from diesel locomotives by 6 percent from 2003 to 2010.

"We believe business has a responsibility -- not only to be a part of meaningful climate solutions, but also to communicate their efforts transparently to stakeholders. We're honored to be among the charter companies for Climate Counts' Industry Innovators project because we believe it seeks to establish corporate environmental accountability which leads, importantly, to climate action." said Roy Deitchman, Vice President of EHS, Amtrak.

"The Climate Counts scorecard provides a continuous improvement process and is a useful tool in identifying next steps on the climate action continuum. While we have tracked our climate impacts since 2000, making our emissions data and reductions efforts transparent will continue to help us improve our own performance while also serving to raise awareness about and grow markets for innovative solutions to climate change." said Jil Zilligen, Chief Sustainability Officer, Shaklee Corporation.

REI is pursuing business-based solutions where financial performance and social/environmental benefits are mutually reinforcing. "We find that when we look at environmental metrics, we identify new opportunities and risks. In many ways we're just getting started, but we've already seen real business benefits. Pursuing our aspiration of being climate neutral is helping us deliver on the expectation of both financial and environmental performance for our co-op members," said Kevin Hagen, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, REI.

"True climate solutions that can also boost the economy and our jobs outlook demand innovation and action from businesses, and our charter companies have shown they are committed to making climate action a competitive advantage," said Climate Counts Executive Director Wood Turner.

The charter members of the i2 project are boldly showing leadership with sustainable positioning that betters their bottom line.

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