What is the value of trying to reduce emissions if the impact cannot be measured? How are sustainability actions measured? How indicative of what is actually happening are the metrics being used? Who is doing the measuring?
These questions are a long way from being answered definitively but one thing we know for sure is that corporations and entities are working towards figuring out ways to ensure that more information is made available to companies and individuals alike to help make decisions/frame our thinking of how sustainable our current consumption patterns are.
Below is a list, in no particular order or ranking, of some companies and metrics for product assessments
1. GoodGuide uses publicly available data to rate over 100,000 products purchased by the average consumer. The company also has an app that allows you to scan a products barcode to get its ratings.
2. Wal-Mart’s Sustainability Index: Started by Wal-Mart to measure the environmental impact of products sold on shelves and enforced with the clout of the 200 million Wal-Mart customers across the world this initiative has been met with some skepticism by other retailers. Might still pick up yet considering the sheer size of the company championing this cause.
3. The Eco Index helps apparel and footwear makers select green materials for their manufacturing requirements. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition of which Yves Chouinard of Patagonia fame is involved is adopting this index. Yves Chouinard is also one of the founders of ‘1% For The Planet’, a group Power2Switch is proud to be a part of.
4. Climate Counts scores companies on the transparency of efforts aimed at sustainability and efforts to fight global warming.
These measures are far from perfect in how data is collected, assessed and graded to come up with values for how badly or how well products or companies are doing. What counts right now is that there is an acknowledgment of a need to keep track and pay attention to a serious issue of our time.
Any other ratings/rankings out of note out there?