Q: What is the goal of Climate Counts?

A: It's simple: to help stop global warming, and to bring consumers and companies together to do that. Many organizations are doing innovative and important work to solve the climate crisis; Climate Counts sees itself as working in partnership with and adding an important new dimension to those efforts.

Q: What impact do companies have on climate change?

A: Just like you and your family, every company has a climate footprint, or a mark or impact that it makes on a stable and safe climate. Large companies use an extraordinary amount of energy in their buildings, stores, and production facilities, and when that energy takes the form of nonrenewable fossil fuels like coal or oil, its use creates the pollution that causes global warming. Companies can take a leadership role by using energy more efficiently or expanding their use of clean energy sources.

Companies also have an impact on climate change in their packaging choices, shipping systems, waste disposal, employee transportation, and the influence they can have on their supply chain. Without aggressive action from business, stopping climate change may be next to impossible. We believe the key to influencing companies lies in the hands of the consumer.

Q: How did you choose the companies you're rating?

A: To date, Climate Counts has scored 150 companies in sixteen major consumer sectors, for example, Electronics, Household Products, and Apparel. Companies were chosen based on their popular household use among mainstream consumers in North America and the United Kingdom and for being well-known market leaders in their sectors. The majority of selected companies are also publicly traded, with some exceptions, among them Stonyfield Farm (the primary funder of Climate Counts) which is a subsidiary of a larger public company. Climate Counts now regularly adds more sectors and companies to its database through its Industry Innovators program only.


Q: Does Climate Counts have mobile apps?

A: Yes. Climate Counts offers both a free iPhone app (search “Climate Counts” on iTunes) and mobile website: http://m.climatecounts.org. Both the iPhone app and the mobile site display all of the Climate Counts scores and the iPhone app gives consumers the power to message (via e-mail and Twitter) currently scored companies and new companies right from their phone.

Q: Why have you not rated companies traditionally perceived to be environmentally responsible?
A: In 2010 we developed at Industry Innovators program (i2.climatecounts.org) which makes the Climate Counts rating process and subsequent score widely available to companies throughout the global marketplace. Industry Innovators, or I2s, can voluntarily go through the Climate Counts rating process and work with Climate Counts on improving their score.

Q: What do the ratings mean? Are you saying high-scoring companies are necessarily the greenest companies?

A: Climate Counts scores companies through a narrow lens, focusing specifically on publicly available information about those companies' climate actions. Top-scoring companies are by no means perfect; there is much work to be done to fight climate change. Their scores simply indicate that they have done more to review, reduce, and report publicly on their global warming impact than other companies. Such actions demonstrate commitment to the issue and suggest top-scoring companies appear most willing to be held accountable for their claims. There are many environmental issues that deserve the attention of the private sector. Climate change is one of those issues.

Significantly, Climate Counts represent a snapshot of a moment in time. The efforts of companies that are moving quickly to demonstrate a deepening commitment to fighting climate change will be acknowledged in subsequent rounds of scoring.

Q: What matters most in your rankings?

A: The Climate Counts Company Scorecard considers four key benchmarks:

  • How well does the company MEASURE its climate footprint?
  • How much has the company done to REDUCE its climate impact?
  • Does the company explicitly SUPPORT (or suggest a desire to block) progressive climate legislation?
  • How clearly and comprehensively does the company publicly DISCLOSE its climate protection efforts?

Q: How did you develop your scoring system?

A: Climate Counts designed and executed a rigorous scoring process that screened publicly available information on each company against 22 criteria drawn from other climate and corporate performance tools. To ensure the accuracy of the scorecard, we asked GreenOrder, a leading sustainability strategy firm, to provide strategic guidance on the Climate Counts program, assist in the development of the scoring system, and provide insights on the scoring implications.

Q: What is the best way to use this new data?

A: There are two major things you can do: you can make smarter consumer choices that help fight climate change, and you can let companies know through e-mail and Twitter messages that their Climate Counts score matters to you, your family, and your friends. Companies care about their reputations and will be motivated to take action if they know large numbers of consumers are concerned or paying attention to an issue.

You can also tell others about Climate Counts - in your neighborhoods, community groups, civic organizations, and businesses. The more people who use our database to make better purchasing choices, the greater the impact we can all have together on aggressively working to stop climate change.

Q: What do your red, yellow, and green icons mean?

A: The icons are designed to make it easy for consumers to compare companies WITHIN sectors. The standard for climate performance varies from sector to sector, so the icons are intended to show how companies compare to each other with particular sectors.

Q: Why have you rated public parent companies and not brands and products?

A: Certainly, people have strong emotional connections to specific products and brands, and often much less so with parent companies. Climate Counts believes, however, that the greatest opportunity for far-reaching corporate leadership on climate protection exists at the highest parent level. Leading-edge actions by specific brands under larger parent companies have been recognized by our scoring system, but our final score is attributed to the parent company as a way of either acknowledging extraordinary leadership or drawing attention to the urgent need for meaningful action, company-wide. Additionally, reporting standards ensure that parent companies make more information available publicly than their subsidiaries. Climate Counts will continually deepen its analysis of companies and their brands in subsequent scoring rounds.

Q: What makes the Climate Counts Company Scorecard different?

A: This is the first time companies have been scored on a consistent basis on their self-reported climate commitment and actions and presented in a consumer-friendly format. It is the first time consumers have been able to compare corporate climate performance on an apples-to-apples basis across companies and sectors.

Q: What is the relationship between Stonyfield Farm and Climate Counts?

A: Stonyfield Farm gives 10% of its profits to nonprofit organizations; Climate Counts is one of those organizations. Climate Counts has been launched and funded with support Stonyfield Farm. Stonyfield Farm has been scored as part of our annual process in the spirit of transparency.

Q: Did RenewUs become Climate Counts?

A: Yes, RenewUs was the previous name of the organization. In 2006, we produced A Crisis Averted, a short film that has appeared online and at festivals and has been aired by corporations, universities, and NGOs around the world. You can view this film and other Climate Counts films on our homepage or on our YouTube channel: ClimateCounts1

Q: How can a member of the press contact Climate Counts for more information about the project?

A: Please contact us via e-mail at info@climatecounts.org.

Q: How can I contact Climate Counts with ideas or feedback? Can I vote on companies I think you should score in the future?

A: We'd love to hear from you. Please contact us via e-mail at info@climatecounts.org. Or download the free Climate Counts iPhone app where you can message both currently scored companies and new companies right from your phone.