Climate Counts Offering Color-Coded Sustainable Shopping Guide for the Holidays

Climate Counts chart

Humans are well-intentioned but lazy creatures; give us a long-winded report about sustainable retailers and we will quickly forget about it. Give us a printable, color-coded guide telling us what brands to avoid and it just might make an impact. Climate Counts, a non-profit that rates companies once a year on their voluntary efforts to mitigate climate change, hopes to do just that with its Striding Shopper campaign.

The campaign, which is being rolled out over the next five weeks, ranks 150 companies representing over 3,000 brands with a color-coded system–red for “stuck,” yellow for “starting,” and green for “striding.” The ranking is based on 22 criteria that determine whether companies have measured their climate footprint, cut down on their potential climate change impacts, supported progressive climate change legislation, and publicly disclosed their climate actions.

Climate Counts already offers a pocket shopping guide that ranks everything from food services companies to banks, but the Striding Shopper campaign will focus squarely on the retail sector, making it ideal for holiday shoppers.

Climate Counts isn’t the first to rank sustainable products with a color-coded system. Whole Foods recently launched the first in-store color-coded sustainable seafood rating program (all red-listed seafood will be cut from store shelves by 2012). Greenpeace has a color-coded guide to its Greener Electronics ranking system. It’s the kind of tactic we’d like to see more of. Color-coding may oversimplify some issues, but it’s still the easiest way to impart good practices to an information-saturated public.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.AS