I’m a big fan of Gary Hirschberg, the CE-yo (for yogurt) of Stonyfield Farms, and I hope his new venture, Climate Counts, will have an impact. But I’m skeptical.
Climate Counts is the subject of today’s CNNMoney.com column. It’s a ranking of 56 consumer brands, based on their policy and practices regarding climate change. The idea is to persuade conscious consumers to patronize those companies with higher rankings — Canon, Nike, Unilever and IBM in this first go-round — and avoid those with lower ones. The trouble is, it’s hard enough to get consumers to buy explicitly green products like CFL bulbs or cars that get good gas mileage. Asking them to chose Coke over Pepsi because Coca-Cola has a better climate change policy than PepsiCo is a stretch.
Having said that, the rankings and the publicity they are already generating–here’s a story in today’s New York Times–can only make a positive difference. My own company, Time Warner, doesn’t get a good rating, but TWX is on its way to measuring greenhouse gas emissions and will eventually set targets for reductions. Climate Counts is one more reason why every big public company will need a climate change policy, and soon.
Here’s how the column begins:
Can buying a Canon camera, a pair of Nike sneakers or a bar of Dove soap help curb global warming?
A new group called Climate Counts certainly hopes so. The nonprofit organization has rated 56 consumer companies, identifying what it calls leaders and laggards around the issue of climate change. Its goal is to persuade people who care about the environment to support corporations that take climate change seriously, and avoid those that do not.
Canon, Nike, Unilever (which makes Dove) and IBM led the pack. At the bottom of the list? Jones Apparel Group (whose brands include Nine West, Anne Klein and Easy Spirit) CBS, Burger King, Darden Restaurants (the Red Lobster people), Wendy’s and, perhaps surprisingly, Amazon.com. They were all given a zero score.
You can read the rest here.