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Business

Green Lists Proliferate

by Marc S. Reisch
September 28, 2009 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 87, ISSUE 39

In advance of the United Nations-sponsored climate conference in Copenhagen in December, the magazine Newsweek and the Carbon Disclosure Project investors group separately issued rankings of companies based on their environmental profiles. A number of chemical firms seized on those rankings as evidence of their good behavior. Bayer, for instance, ranked number one of 409 global firms overall in the CDP list according to their greenhouse gas emissions and climate-change strategies. Bayer board member Wolfgang Plischke says the firm’s ranking lets those going to the Copenhagen conference know that Bayer is contributing to solving the problem of global climate change. BASF ranked first among firms in the materials sector. Newsweek’s “green companies” ranking, which looks only at 500 large U.S. companies according to their environmental performance, policies, and reputation, placed pharmaceutical companies such as Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer ahead of chemical and related companies such as Praxair, Nalco, and Eastman Chemical. The two rankings’ results were not always consistent. DuPont, which placed among the top six firms in the materials sector on the CDP list, was ranked 193, below Eastman, Celanese, and Dow Chemical on Newsweek’s honor roll.

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