Sun said it has been rated as 'best in class' for its climate change disclosure stance and has launched a social networking site to encourage organisations to reduce thwir environmental footprint.

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is financed by a group of major investors in business and publishes listed companies' carbon footprints in a standard form. The project, representing over 300 investment organisations representing $415 trillion in assets, writes to corporations requesting their carbon emissions on behalf of these investors. The CDP releases annual reports of its findings and has just published its 2007 report.

Sun was included, along with 67 other FT500 businesses, in the Climate Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI), an 'honour roll' for global corporations addressing the challenges of climate change. All companies in the FT500 sample were assessed relative to their peers to provide an evaluation for investors, through the CDLI, on which companies have developed the most comprehensive climate change disclosure practices.

Dave Douglas, Sun's eco-responsibility VP, said: "Being named to the Climate Disclosure Leadership Index is very gratifying for Sun and its employees worldwide."

Paul Dickinson, CDP chief executive, said: "Sun has set itself apart from its peers by disclosing the information required by investors to judge its readiness for the challenges and opportunities posed by climate change."

In the computing category Sun was ranked number 5 with 85 points out of a maximum 100. Top was HP with 100 points, then EMC at 95, followed by Dell and IBM each with 90. Microsoft also scored 90 in the software category. No other computer hardware and software companies were cited.

As with the 2006 CDP report Google declined to reveal its carbon footprint, citing competitive reasons.

Sun's green social network website

Coincident with this, Sun has launched a social network website, OpenEco.org, aimed at encouraging organisations to calculate, compare and improve their environmental footprint through sharing best practices.

Participating organisations have to register but membership is free and open to all organisations. The only cost of admission is sharing data, transparently or anonymously, with other community participants.

Sun made a major marketing splash at the New York launch, with the CDP present as well as ex-US president Bill Clinton. (View his presentation here.)

The company states that organisations wanting to calculate their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) do so with home-grown or proprietary tools, and this often requires significant internal resources or expensive consulting services. With the OpenEco.org website, carbon accounting data can easily be shared using the site's GHG emissions tool. The tool enables organizations of all kinds to benchmark against one another, set realistic reduction goals and share best practices to meet them.

Two other organisations were registered members at the launch: Ceres, a coalition of investors and environmental groups, and Natural Logic. That company's founder and CEO, Gil Friend, has served as a technical advisor to the site.

Sun was keen to stress its community-building credentials; Douglas said: "Working together drives progress faster than working alone. Sun was built on the philosophy of openness and building communities to solve problems, which we're now applying to the environment. When we share, sustainable business can be more attainable - and prosperous - for everyone."