When it comes to going green, it's better to think big.That's the
Until that happens, consumers can get beyond flashy marketing claims and do the equivalent of reading the label by going online. Web sites like
Treehugger and Grist are always quick to provide facts and discussion around green claims their writers believe to be hollow. Jones analyzed piles of data from not-for-profit organizations, government offices like the Environmental Protection Agency and companies themselves to compile his Better World Shopping Guide. It gives a range of stores and products a grade from A to F for the level of social and environmental responsibility behind them. Many of these rankings are available on his Web site. The activist group Co-op America runs the Responsible Shopper Web site, which gives no-nonsense summaries of where it sees major companies from Kraft Foods ( KFT) to Archer Daniels Midland ( ADM) pursuing admirable green initiatives and where it sees them coming up short. And Climate Counts, a project funded by organic dairy company Stonyfield Farm (which is owned by French food giant Groupe Danone), recently listed the large companies it believes are taking climate change most seriously and graded their efforts to improve things. Seventh Generation, because those are what its customers prefer to buy, according to a spokesperson. Practically every auto maker, including Toyota ( TM), still sells some sort of unwieldy gas-guzzling minivan, SUV or light truck. But when competitors saw the futuristic Prius flying out the door (the company sold 12,500 of them in September, up 24% from a year ago) they began developing hybrids of their own. The Sierra Club even believes that some oil companies are better than others, and advocates that consumers encourage more responsibility in this industry by directing their gas dollars toward BP ( BP) and Sunoco ( SUN) and away from Exxon Mobil ( XOM) and ConocoPhillips ( COP). So next time you head out shopping, think carefully about what you drive, where you gas it up, where you shop and what you load in the back of your car. Somewhere down the line it can make a big difference.