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How green is that brand? BadBuster colors the credentials

The BadBuster free browser tool ranks businesses' green reputations

BadBuster gives a quick glimpse of "green" ratings of businesses you run across while reading searching, or shopping online.

BadBuster took a few quick minutes for me to download and set up, although it stalled on one of two Windows XP machines. Once installed, BadBuster underlines on Web pages the names of brands and goods it has ranked, with colors indicating the level or lack of "greenness." For example, green underscores the BP oil company, known for its "Beyond Petroleum" campaign, while glaring red marks notorious polluter Exxon. Yellow is the middle rating.

Roll the mouse over a highlighted name, and a BadBuster mini-window pops up with details. Click that, and a new Web page provides more information, pitting that brand against close rivals. BadBuster turned up surprises. For instance, Google's rating was lower than Microsoft's, despite the search giant's well-publicized green initiatives.

BadBuster gives a red alert on ecologically sketchy companies.

Badbuster's 0-100 scale rankings are based upon various reports. Sources include Climate Counts, BusinessWeek, Calvert, KnowMore, and the Carbon Disclosure Project. It does not appear to use ratings from Alonovo, Sustainlane, FiveLimes, and other dedicated sustainability scores.

I like ratings services like BadBuster that are built into the browser, since they allow you to stay on the page where you're surfing. Palore, for instance, flags restaurants that serve organic food. Services like these that aggregate ratings from multiple sources might provide a more balanced view than a single source. At the same time, though, you'd be better to visit Alonovo if you want to tailor ratings according to your personal set of values.

BadBuster is in early beta testing and runs only in Internet Explorer 6 and higher, but a Firefox version is being built.

See also: Trusted Opinion, FiveLimes , Growing Green Friends