Check out this article about a new nonprofit group – Climate Counts – that will make it easier for you and me to make better decisions about everyday purchases. They have released a simple scorecard for 56 consumer companies which ranks/rates companies on their environmental track record for several years, and they intend to expand and update this list annually. On a scale of 0-100, only 4 companies scored over 70-Nike, Unilever, Canon, and IBM. Certainly there is room for growth for even top performers!

Every dollar we spend represents a “vote” for the companies that manufacture and distribute that product or service, whether or not we are conscious of that vote. In the past, our selection criteria has been limited by what we know about the product – usually based on packaging or perceived performance. Even for those of us that have wanted to “vote” for greener products/companies, our ability to make fact-based decisions has been limited by the information available, and by time constraints.

Climate Counts has a handy pocket guide that you can print from your home computer, and Climate Counts on the Go – text “cc” and then the name of the company you are wondering about to 30644, and you’ll get the information back while you’re shopping (provided by Working Assets Wireless – a socially responsible communication company worth knowing about!). FYI – my 14 year old daughter Kelsey just tested this for me – and it really does work! She checked on Gap first, and got back a message that Gap is number 2 of 7 ranked. Nike is in first place. It has flaws – she then typed Old Navy, which is part of Gap, and it came back with the message that they haven’t scored that company yet.

Our IBM Consumer Products Consulting Practice is talking to our clients about the concept of “full value traceability” which would help clients understand even more information about where the product was manufactured/sourced, and when (important for perishables – particularly with recent food scares – think spinach and peanut butter), as well as other information – with the idea of getting this information to the product label/shelf. More to be done here – Innovation that Matters.

I had a discussion recently with representatives of a consumer products company that has a really solid environmental record. This corporate leader doesn’t believe that consumers really are putting their $$ where their values are – yet. It’s up to all of us to demonstrate that we do care – by making environmentally informed buying decisions!

Big KUDOS and THANKS to the founders of Climate Counts for making it a little bit easier.