Here’s an easy Q&A for you:

Do you think it is fair to assume that when people are not buying products, are not eating out or not using services like airlines, hotels etc. as they normally should, or in other words, when the economy is dipping, the Carbon footprint across the industry also dips?

Answer – Yes!

Alternatively, when the economy soars – people standing in lines to buy new stuff, flying across the planet consuming whole lot more energy than they normally would, the Carbon footprint in the industry increases because of all this activity. Right?

Wrong! It turns out even when the economy’s rising, the emissions are not rising!

Well…at least for some companies that’s the case as the folks at Climate Counts found that out in their recent report titled:

The Climate Counts Company Scorecard

What does this scorecard do?

ClimateCountsScorecard2012 -1

It rates companies on a scale of 0 to 100 for their initiatives to reduce their Carbon footprint – higher the score, greater the company’s commitment to climate leadership. Companies are either Soaring, Striding, Starting or Stuck in their efforts to mitigate their emissions.

Let’s quickly have a brief look at the leaders and the laggards out of the 145 odd companies rated across 16 industry sectors.

Sector Leaders

Food – Unilever

Airlines – Lufthansa

Hotels – Marriott

Apparel/Accessories – Nike

Internet/Social Media – Google

Technology – IBM

Sector Laggards (Stuck or Starting)

Food – McDonalds, Yum! Brands

Technology – Viacom

Internet/Social Media – LinkedIn, Amazon, Facebook

Airlines – United Continental Airlines, US Airways

Hotel – Hilton

Companies that most improved their sustainability perforamance in the past 5 years:

Levi’s, Avon, e-bay and Cholorox

Companies that least improved their sustainability perforamance in the past 5 years:

McDonalds, Amazon and Viacom

It’s not about the economy

I’ve consistently heard senior level execs in companies say the most ignorant and most common reasoning for not doing anything for climate change – The Economy’s bad!

Well, as this scorecard shows, it’s not about the economy. It doesn’t matter if the economy is up or down, companies that are leading the scorecard view sustainability as a core ingredient in their business models. They have embedded sustainability in their day-to-day operations and they keep striding ahead – regardless of the economy.

In fact, these leaders have goals of increasing their business footprint while reducing their carbon impact.

And companies that have emerged as Stuck or laggards in this scorecard view sustaianbility as an add-on cost or as a seperate silo. They always find that economy will dictate whether they will do anything for the climate at all! Not so responsible – don’t you think?

I think it is high time companies remove economy out of the equation to play an active role in climate change.

About Climate Counts: Launched by organics pioneer Stonyfield Farm, Climate Counts is a collaborative effort to bring consumers and companies together to address solutions around global climate change.

Please share your comments below!

Download the complete 18 page report here

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