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Apple, Ebay and Amazon receive failing grade from environmentalists

Big Blue is green, Apple is brown. Whodathunkit?

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Eco-lobby group Climate Counts has issued a green rating scorecard that lauds Canon and IBM as veritable Planeteers, but dumps on eBay, Amazon and Apple as planet-hating muckity-mucks.

The group scored 56 well-known companies on 22 criteria based on their self-reported actions. Points were awarded or deducted for corporate policies ranging from having a clear eco-friendly goal to supporting public policy that requires mandatory emission reductions. Companies are also awarded an (apparently arbitrary) color dot based on their climate counts score; red for "stuck," yellow for "starting," and green for "striding" in the environmental race.

Canon tops the "electronics" category with a total of 77 points out of 100. IBM follows a hair behind at 70 points. Toshiba, Motorola, HP and Sony each received a green light and scored over a 50.

Apple, despite receiving a nod from Greenpeace for its newly-hatched recycling program and efforts to remove toxic chemicals from its products, did not fare nearly so well. The computer gadget company received an abominable score of two — which rock band Three Dog Night could tell you is the loneliest number since the number one.

Yahoo! topped the "internet/software" category with not-so-sweet score of 36, and Microsoft grabbed second with 31 points. Google was given a yellow dot with 17 points.

Online pawnshop eBay bottomed out the category with a meager two points and Amazon scored a big fat zero. That puts the world's largest e-tailor below bleach company Clorox and Wendy's restaurants for their ecological footprint. Oddly, it also puts Amazon in the same level as media conglomerate CBS — which isn't particularly known for CO2 emissions. (Hot air jokes aside.)

Climate Counts is a non-profit group funded by Stonyfield Yogurt, a organic yogurt producer and Clean Air-Cool Planet, a non-profit global warming advocacy group. Perhaps its only natural for a yogurt company to want to put The Fruit on the bottom.

Arguably, the rating system has extremely limited validity. The scorecard doesn't rank companies based on actual carbon emissions, but corporate policy towards being eco-friendly. The size and scale of each enterprise isn't a factor in its rank either. While a company such as Google may not be pushing as hard as others, even a small effort would make a much larger impact on the environment as - oh, say - Stonyfield Farm, which coincidently received 63 points and came in second in the "food products" category.

You can check out the complete list and the rating criteria at Climate Count's website. ®

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