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Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshot

Climate Counts Scorecard Shows Companies Taking Climate Change Seriously

More and more companies are taking climate change seriously by doing their part to address the human-induced problem plaguing the dwellers of this planet. That's what the Climate Counts sixth annual company scorecard shows. Since 2007, there have been great strides as 66 percent of the companies rated in 2012 have a publicly available climate and energy strategy versus only 25 percent in 2007. The scores are also going up. The average score in 2012 was 52.1 versus 30.6 in 2007.

Unilever is the leader, earning the top overall score of 91. A British-based company, Unilever has over 400 brands internationally that include Dove, Lipton and Vaseline. Behind Unilever is UPS (89 points), Levi Strauss (87) and L'Oreal (87). The top scoring companies, including Unilever, really reduced their GHG emissions in 2011. Their combined reductions in 2011 were 1,168,812, which is equal to the amount of carbon emissions from fossil fuels to power 146,000 homes.

Climate Counts scores a company's efforts to reduce global warming on a scale of 0 to 100. The higher a company's score the greater is its commitment. This year Climate Counts rated 145 companies across 16 industry sectors using a 22-criteria scoring methodology. There are four ratings levels: stuck (12 points or less), starting (13-49 points), striding (50-84 points), and soaring (85-100 points). Fifteen companies attained a "Soaring" climate score of 85 points or more.

There are always the most improved and least improved companies. Three companies earned the most improved distinction: eBay, Clorox and Levi Strauss. All three companies had single digit scores in 2007, but "have all emerged as contenders for the top spot in their respective sectors," according to Climate Counts. Three other companies earned the least improved distinction. Amazon.com, Wendy's and Viacom have all demonstrated the least progress since 2007. As Climate Counts puts it, "There continues to be little publicly available evidence to suggest that they are measuring, reducing and reporting their GHG emissions."

The aviation sector stops the EU from imposing emissions caps

There is one sector that clearly disappoints some, and it's the aviation sector. A subsection in the scorecard notes the reactions of U.S. airlines to the EU including emissions from the aviation sector in its EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), a cap and trade scheme. All flights from or departing to any of the 27 EU member countries would come under the trading scheme. United Continental (which scored 49 points on the scorecard) and American Airlines (which also scored 49 points) filed a lawsuit against the European Court of Justice, and the Court upheld the legislation. However, on November 12 the EU announced that it would suspend non-EU aircraft operators from complying with the scheme for 12 months.

Several U.S. airlines, including Delta (which scored 50 points) and their trade association successfully lobbied Congress to pass a bill that would exclude U.S. airlines from paying penalties associated with the EU ETS. Congress passed it and Obama signed the bill last week. Climate Counts emphasizes in the scorecard that it "does not take an official position on the EU ETS." The EU ETS "could be a starting point for global policy related to aviation emissions." However, the airline sector effectively stopped the EU from putting a cap on emissions from the aviation sector, and Climate Counts finds that to be a "cause for concern."

Image credit: Climate Counts

Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshotGina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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