A new interactive data visualization tool allows the general to see how the largest U.S. companies stack up when comparing their environmental impact. The Environmental Explorer, which is freely available, lets users explore rankings of the 1,000 largest public U.S. companies on specific environmental issues, including pollution and environmental management, as well as specific impacts, such as greenhouse gas emissions, hazardous spills, water, fuel, electricity usage, and waste recycled.
The tool is intended for use by business leaders, policymakers, advocacy groups, investors, and the general public wishing to see which companies are ‘best in class’ on these important issues. It was launched today by JUST Capital, an independent non-profit organization that tracks what business behaviors Americans consider important and how companies align with those values. Americans see the planet as a key stakeholder, with 78 percent agreeing that just companies should minimize pollution and 83 percent suggesting that companies should use environmental resources efficiently.
In addition to the rankings, the Explorer includes interactive data visualizations that show in detail how corporations are taking the lead on reducing air pollution impacts at the local level. The Air Pollution Attribution Data Visualization features interactive maps tracing how companies have performed on reducing pollutants, including carbon dioxide (CO2) and particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5), which can cause serious health problems and is the main cause of reduced visibility in parts of the country. Users can choose to see aggregate state-level reductions in emissions over time, as well as emissions from specific industries, companies or facilities.
“The Environmental Explorer sheds light on which companies are really moving the needle on reducing environmental impacts, which the American people have said is one of the key priorities of just business behavior,” said Martin Whittaker, CEO of JUST Capital. “By measuring companies based on what really matters to people and the planet, we can advance a more just economy.”
According to JUST Capital’s polling of more than 10,000 Americans in 2017, 75 percent of respondents agreed that corporations should be responsible for taking action to combat pollution, using environmental resources efficiently and instituting environmentally responsible management. Interestingly, these three values were upheld across age, gender and political beliefs. As such, these are some of the key issues that form the basis for JUST Capital’s main ranking model as well as how users can rank companies in the Environmental Explorer.
“By building the Environmental Explorer, we aim to highlight how business is helping to address some of the more pressing environmental challenges in the United States, and how comprehensive, research-based tools and analyses can help both companies and consumers address these challenges,” Whittaker said.
JUST Capital also uses its evaluation and ranking data in financial markets to promote positive change in corporate behavior. Earlier this month, the organization worked with Goldman Sachs Asset Management to launch an exchange-traded fund (ETF) tied to measurements of “just” business behavior, including levels of emissions.