Green America’s ‘Responsible Shopper’ Ratings of Beer Companies

Green America, the green consumer organization where I worked for almost seven years, has a program called Responsible Shopper that aggregates news and develops social responsibility profiles of prominent companies in consumer goods categories. The recently updated their profiles in the alcohol industry and there are some surprising findings.

For example, Boston Beer, the brewer of Sam Adams beers, gets a lousy C- in Labor and also in Health and Safety, and a measely C in the Environment category. I couldn’t find anything on the Responsible Shopper website describing the precise rating methodology. Although the program existed while I worked at Green America, I don’t recall their being a clear methodology for this then either. So even though I am an ardent supporter of the organization’s work, I have to wonder about the credibility of these ratings given that there is no transparent explanation of how the grades are developed.

All that said, there are some nuggets in here that will inform the sustainability-minded beer drinkers out there. An eye-opener was the fact that AnheuserBusch clocked in at #41 on the Political Economy Research Institute’s 2010 Toxic 100 Air Polluters list. Check out all the gory details right here.

Unfortunately, Boston Beer was the only craft brewer included in the Responsible Shopper breweries profile. I wonder how Sierra Nevada and New Belgium would fare if they were assessed. Knowing quite a bit about the environmental sustainability of both of these companies, I’m curious about their other social responsibility indicators such as labor and governance.


5 Responses to Green America’s ‘Responsible Shopper’ Ratings of Beer Companies

  1. satjiwan says:

    didn’t your book say Coors (but maybe not MillerCoors) had a progressive domestic partner – aka Gay Friendly – labor policy? or would that be human rights. for either category it might give them a better score.

    also, noting that there were no “green” colored companies according to the table key, Green America should search around more and make sure to highlight a few “good” options (SN or NB?) and not just rank the not so good.

  2. jan janson says:

    This is a shocking report. Consider the environment for instance most of these massive corparations send there products all over the world and got a B? What would merit an F ? maybe a sending some beer to the moon and making a barrel aged stout. Next time Green America may consider actualy revewing american companys with there anything goes nonrating system.

  3. Indeed a shocker,More & more people should switch to Environment friendly Organic beers.Which will help in curbing the Pollution caused by breweries.

  4. Daniel Yaffe says:

    This is cool! We are planning on writing an article about this kind of thing for our “Heal the World” issue.


  5. smonroe21092 says:

    This is really interesting! as someone said above and is so true people are loving the organic types of beers and it is really cool to think about how this will help the environment.

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