Unilever, UPS, Nike lead efforts to address climate change

Bellamente said that lack of industry and consumer pressure in the worst-performing sectors was responsible for their poor scores.

"[The climate] is just not on their strategic radar," Bellamente said of the fast food industry. He said consumers are asking these companies to perform with better nutrition levels in their products instead of taking action on climate issues: "It hasn't affected their industry negatively enough [for them] to report on their emission levels."

"The same goes for the toys and children's products industry," he added. "Their first order of business is to make sure the children are safe. You've got a lot of companies that manufacture abroad that don't have regulations that make sustainability as much of a science as here," he said.

But Hasbro and Lego have both increased their Climate Count scores by double digits, he said.

Next year, Bellamente expects more companies to look at the consumer end and the downstream effect of how their footprint can be managed through R&D, similar to the way Unilever approaches sustainability.

"At Unilever, everyone in the company has a sustainability target -- from the guy who makes the shampoo to the guy who makes the shampoo packaging," he said. "You’ll start to see more of that embedded into organizations."

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