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Unilever, UPS, Nike Achieve Highest Scores For Sustainability Efforts

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While the recent economic uptick may lead to assumptions that emissions are on the rise as well, and they are, but a recent report is showing that some of the world’s top-earning companies are starting to reduce their carbon footprints.

According to the Climate Counts 2012-2013 Annual Company Scorecard report, Unilever, UPS, Nike, Levi Strauss, and L’Oreal – five of the six highest-ranking companies – have shown revenue growth in 2011-12 while still reducing total emissions. The report analyzed public data from 145 companies, with IBM, AB Electrolux, Stonyfield Farm, Bank of America, Hewlett-Packard, Coca-Cola Company, Sony, Reckitt-Benckiser, Group Danone, and Siemens rounding out the top performers. Amazon, Viacom, and Wendy’s received some of the worst rankings.

“The fact that a lot of major corporations are showing the signs of more sustainable growth and cutting overall emissions is of huge significance,” said Climate Counts director Mike Bellamente in an interview with GreenBiz. “Companies are getting back on their feet but they’re able to do so with more of what we need to do for climate change.”

Some of the criteria included the extent of each company’s emissions review, whether there was a plan in place to reduce emissions, and whether reduction goals were being met. Sixty-six percent of the companies evaluated had public climate and energy strategies in place, which were also part of the score. That’s a huge leap from only 25% of companies back in 2007.

Unilever earned 91 out of 100 points, the highest score ever awarded since the first report in 2007. Fifteen companies received scores of 85 or higher.

“Never before has it been so important for business to step up its leadership to address both the causes and the impacts of climate change,” said Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever. “Ordinary people are increasingly suffering the effects of extreme weather events and the associated food and water shortages. They are expecting us to be responsible in helping them to manage these challenges.”

As far as the companies at the bottom of the list, Bellamente mentioned that the fast food and toy industries appear to be the least concerned about their carbon footprints. Most fast food companies are busy working on nutritional transparency, while the main priority of toy companies is to make sure their products are safe enough for children. These concerns, at least for now, trump environmental issues.

What would you like to see from fast food and toy companies to get their rankings higher? Do you think it will hurt them if they don’t redirect energy toward sustainability?

Image credit: NASA

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