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By the numbers

(article, Ashley Griffin Gartland)

Worried about whether the products you're buying come from environmentally friendly companies? The new nonprofit Climate Counts has tackled this consumer task; its simple ratings system and scorecard rank corporations by their commitments to reducing their contributions to global warming. 

Shoppers can download and print out a pocket version of the Climate Counts scorecard to use as a quick consulting reference. 

The math? Climate Counts studied 52 companies in eight sectors using a 0-to-100 point scale and 22 criteria to help determine each company's commitment to fighting global warming. The company efforts are then labeled as "stuck," "starting," or "striding." Perfect scores? None. 

Rated companies include such food behemoths as Nestlé, Kraft, Kellogg, Unilever, and ConAgra. According to Climate Counts, if you have to choose, it’s better to frequent McDonald’s than Wendy’s. And products from Stonyfield Farm are a better purchase, environmentally speaking, than those made by Sara Lee. 

Other online evaluators of environmentalism in capitalism include Climate Biz, which highlights eco-friendly companies in columns and news releases, and the online portal to Plenty magazine, which recently listed their 20 best green companies, including Organic Valley, Whole Foods, and Green Mountain Coffee.