About SweetScores


SweetScores are not Product quality or Company quality ratings.

SweetScores are statements of political opinion meant to help you form your own points of view about Products, Companies and Places. They are not statements of fact and are not intended to tell you what to do or what to conclude, but to provide you and easy to understand researched point of view that you can use in forming your own opinions.

Here are details on how SweetScores are currently determined:

Place SweetScores

There are three different versions of Place SweetScores shown on sweetscore.com.

On each State and Country page, we provide a SweetScore for each of the Issues we cover.  These SweetScores are based on third party surveys on the laws and leadership of Places on each of the Issues.  Below is a detailed description of how we create the Issue SweetScore for each Place.

On each Company page, we provide a Place SweetScore for each of the issues we cover which is based on the SweetScores for the State or Country in which we understand the headquarters of the Company to be located.

On each Product page, we provide a Place SweetScore for each of the issues we cover which is based on the SweetScores for the Sate or Country in which we understand the maker of the Product to be headquartered and, if we have it, the Country in which we understand the Product to have been manufactured.  For Products we understand to be manufactured in the United States, we do not use State specific SweetScores in the place of Product manufacturing portion of the SweetScore, but instead simply use the United States SweetScores.

Company SweetScores

On Company Pages and Product Pages, you’ll see Company SweetScores.  These SweetScores come from ratings provided by the Community, if provided, from writers engaged by SweetScore to create and contribute their own Company ratings, if provided, and from Companies themselves, if provided.  Companies are encourage to provide one (but not more than one)  “self-rating” as a community member on SweetScore using the same rating input mechanism as members of the community use. Ratings from writers engaged by SweetScore to provide ratings reflect the opinions of those writers, and do not reflect the opinions of SweetScore.

Now here’s how we create the Issue SweetScore for each State and Country we include on SweetScore:

Environmental Protections

For our Environmental Protections SweetScores, we create two different SweetScores.  We create a Country Environmental Protections SweetScore based on the 2018 Environmental Performance Index produced by the Yale Center for Law and Policy.  The Environmental Performance Index provides a rating of 0 to 100 for each country each year, with 100 being the best theoretical rating and 0 being the worst. You can see the Index here.  To create our Environmental Protection SweetScore for each Country, we take the 2018 Index rating and convert it into a scale of 1 to 10 rating, rounding up as we do so, so that any Country with an Index rating greater than 60 up to and including 70 gets a SweetScore of 7, any Country with an Index rating greater than 70 up to and  including 80 gets a SweetScore of 8, etc.

We also create a separate State Environmental Protection SweetScore for each United States State, to provide a rating showing differences between the States. We create this SweetScore based on the Greenest States 2018 ratings from Wallet Hub.  The Greenest States 2018 provides a rating of 0 to 100 for each State, with 100 being the best theoretical rating and 0 being the worst. You can see the ratings here.  To create our Environmental Protection SweetScore for each State, we take the Greenest States 2018 rating and convert it into a scale of 1 to 10 rating, rounding up as we do so, so that any State with a rating greater than 60 up to and including 70 gets a 7, any State with an Index rating greater than 70 up to and including 80 gets an 8, etc. We then add one point each for each of the following two things: (i) we add one point if the State has signed up for a GreenHouse Gas Emission target; and (ii) we add one point if the State has a law requiring the postings of Environmental warnings equivalent to those required by California’s Prop 65, which has done a great deal to sensitize Californians to risks created by environmental hazards.

Note that only the Country Environmental Protection SweetScores are factored into Product SweetScores.

We are not affiliated with the Yale Center for Law and Policy or with Wallet Hub in any way and: (1) nothing on SweetScore should be considered to represent the views of the Yale Center for Law and Policy or Wallet Hub and (2) even though we reference ratings and/ or information published in the Yale Center for Law and Policy and in the Wallet Hub surveys, the views of the Yale Center for Law and Policy and of Wallet Hub do not necessarily represent the views of SweetScore.

Women’s Equality and Reproductive Rights

For our Women’s Equality and Reproductive Rights SweetScores, we create two different SweetScores.  We create a Country Women’s Equality and Reproductive Rights SweetScore based on ratings included in two different reports: (1) the 2018 Global Gender Gap Report from the World Economic Forum (the “Forum Report”), and (2) the United Nations Development Program Human Development Reports Gender Inequality Index 2015 (the “UN Report”). You can see a copy of the Forum Report here and a copy of the UN Report here. The Forum Report provides a rating of 0 to 1 for each country, with 1 being the best theoretical rating and 0 being the worst. If achieved, a 1 rating would mean that the Country being rated had no gender gap, as measured by the indicia the report looks to. The UN Report also provides a 0 to 1 rating showing the gap, but takes the opposite approach, where 0 is the best theoretical score (indicating no gender gap) and 1 is the worst. To create our Women’s Equality and Reproductive Rights SweetScore for each Country, we first convert the UN Report rating to show 1 as a positive score and 0 as a negative score (by simply taking the number one and subtracting the rating assigned in the report). We then take the index rating that we have from each report and multiply it by 10, to create a rating on a scale of 1 to 10. Finally, we average the two scores for each country and then round up to create our SweetScore, so that any Country with a rating greater than 6.00 up to and including 7.00 gets a SweetScore of 7, any Country with a Report rating greater than 0.70 up to and including 0. 80 gets a SweetScore of 8, etc.

We also create a separate State Women’s Equality and Reproductive Rights SweetScore for each United States State, to provide a rating showing differences between the States. We create this SweetScore based on data published in the following three reports: (1) the 2018 Best States for Women report from Wallet Hub, which you can see here; (2) the 2015 Report on The Best and Worst States for Women from the Institute on Women’s Policy Research which you can see here; and (3) the NARAL state by state reproductive rights survey which you can see here (we took our data from the survey as available on October 7, 2019).  To create our SweetScore for each State, we created a rating based on each of these reports as follows: (1) For the Wallet Hub report, we took the State rating provided and then multiplied by 10, to create a 1 to 10 scale rating; (2) For the Women’s Policy Research Report, we noted the Report’s published findings of the Best Overall and Worst Overall States. We then assigned a 10 rating to each of the States the report deemed to be the Best Overall, assigned a 4 rating to each of the States the report deemed to be the Worst Overall, and assigned a 7 rating to all other States. (3) For the NARAL survey, which puts States into one of each of 5 categories, we assigned a 9 to each State in the “strongly protected access” category, assigned an 8 to States in the “protected access” category, assigned a 7 to States in the “some access” category, assigned a 6 to States in the “restricted access” category and assigned a 5 to States in the “strongly restricted access” category. We then determined the average of each of these three ratings for each State and rounded up to create our SweetScore, so that any State with an average rating greater than 6.00 up to and including 7.00 gets a SweetScore of 7, any State with an average rating greater than 7.00 up to and including 8.00 gets a SweetScore of 8, etc.

Note that only the Country Women’s Equality and Reproductive Rights SweetScores are factored into Product SweetScores.

We are not affiliated with the World Economic Forum, the United Nations Development Program, Wallet Hub, the Institute on Women’s Policy Research or NARAL in any way and: (1) nothing on SweetScore should be considered to represent the views of the World Economic Forum, the United Nations Development Program, Wallet Hub, the Institute on Women’s Policy Research or NARAL and (2) even though we reference ratings and/ or information published by the World Economic Forum, the United Nations Development Program, Wallet Hub, the Institute on Women’s Policy Research or NARAL, the views of the World Economic Forum, the United Nations Development Program, Wallet Hub, the Institute on Women’s Policy Research and NARAL do not necessarily represent the views of SweetScore.

LGBTQ Equality

For our LGBTQ Equality SweetScores, we create two different SweetScores.  We create a Country LGBTQ Equality SweetScore and we create a separate State LGBTQ Equality SweetScore to provide a rating showing some differences in LGBTQ protections between the States.

For our Country LGBTQ Equality SweetScore, we looked to the laws of the Country as reported in Wikipedia on October 10, 2019, and divided countries and assigned ratings as follows: (1) for countries where same sex marriage is the law of the land, we assigned a rating of 10; (2) for countries where “civil unions” between same sex couples are permitted, but marriage is not, we assigned a rating of 8; (3) for countries where neither same sex marriage nor same sex civil union are permitted, but where there is also no law forbidding same sex sexual relations and are no laws restricting freedom of expression related to same sex matters, we assigned a rating of 6; (4) for countries where neither same sex marriage nor same sex civil union are permitted, but where there is also no law forbidding same sex sexual relations but where there are laws restricting freedom of expression and/ or association related to LGBTQ matters, we assigned a rating of 4; (5) for countries where neither same sex marriage nor same sex civil union are possible, and where there are also laws forbidding same sex sexual relations, we assigned a rating of 2; and (6) for countries where neither same sex marriage nor same sex civil union are possible, and where there are also laws forbidding same sex sexual relations that carry a risk of the death penalty or life in prison, we assigned a rating of 1. Note that laws in countries in categories (4), (5) and (6) may include laws restricting freedom of expression with respect to LGBTQ matters, including censorship forbidding literature (including classical literature), depicting same sex relationships. Hard to see how attitudes can change when healthy depiction of same sex relationships is illegal. Note too that we rely on Wikepedia’s reporting. Our categories are only accurate to the extent that Wikipedia’s reporting is accurate as of October 10, 2019.

For our State by State LGBTQ Equality SweetScores, we started with a rating of 8 for each State (given that same sex marriage is the law of the land in all States, thanks to the decision of the United States Supreme Court), and then we added up to two points as follows based on the laws of the State as reported, as of October 10, 2019, on the Human Rights Campaign survey of State laws available here: (1) if the State, as reported by the Human Rights Campaign, has both an anti-bullying law related to LGBTQ issues and facilitates a change in gender on either a birth certificate, a driver’s license, or both, for transgender individuals, we award the State one extra point; and (2) if the State, as reported by the Human Rights Campaign, has laws prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation, we awarded the State one extra point. Note that we rely on the Human Right’s Campaign’s reporting. Our categories are only accurate to the extent that the Human Rights Campaign’s reporting is accurate as of October 10, 2019.

Note that only the Country LGBTQ Equality SweetScores are factored into Product SweetScore’s.

We are not affiliated with Wikepeida or the Human Rights Campaign in any way and: (1) nothing on SweetScore should be considered to represent the views of Wikepeida or the Human Rights Campaign and (2) even though we reference information published by Wikepeida or the Human Rights Campaign, the views of Wikepeida and the Human Rights Campaign do not necessarily represent the views of SweetScore.

Gun Control

Our Gun Control SweetScore is a SweetScore for States of the United States only. We do not have a Gun Control rating for Countries. Given that, we do not factor our Gun Control SweetScores into Product SweetScores.

To create our Gun Control SweetScore for each State, we looked to the Annual Gun Law Scorecard published by the Gifford Law Center to Prevent gun Violence, as available on September 29, 2019. You can see the Scorecard here. The Scorecard assigns each State a grade of F through A. To create our Gun Control SweetScore, we converted the grade assigned by the Scorecard as follows: (1) for States assigned an F on the Scorecard, we awarded a rating of 1; (2) for States assigned an F+ or D- on the Scorecard, we awarded a rating of 2; (3) for States assigned a D on the Scorecard, we awarded a rating of 3; (4) for States assigned a D+ or C- on the Scorecard, we awarded a rating of 4; (5) for States assigned a C on the Scorecard, we awarded a rating of 5; (6) for States assigned a rating of C+ or B- on the Scorecard, we awarded a rating of 6; for States assigned a B on the Scorecard, we awarded a rating of 7; for States assigned a B+ of A- on the Scorecard, we awarded a rating of 8; and (7) for States assigned an A on the Scorecard, we awarded a rating of 9.

As noted above, our State Gun Control SweetScores are not factored into Product SweetScores, as Product SweetScores are generated with reference to Country SweetScores and not State SweetScores.

We are not affiliated with the Gifford Law Center in any way and: (1) nothing on SweetScore should be considered to represent the views of the Gifford Law Center and (2) even though we reference ratings from Gifford Law Center, the views of the Gifford Law Center do not necessarily represent the views of SweetScore.

Just and Civil Society

This Issue is about a wide range of issues having to do with democracy, corruption free society, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, corruption-free government and honest, decent public discussion of public policy issues.

Discussion of issues related to the movements we’re seeing today toward authoritarianism and away from democracy belongs here. Indeed, the very articulation  (and it seems that for many an articulation is needed) as to why democracy is a good thing and authoritarianism a bad thing, belongs here. This is the place to discuss why democracy, civil and honest discourse and protection of human rights matter and to propose and endorse plans to promote them.

Our Just and Civil Society SweetScores are based solely on ratings provided in the Corruption Perceptions Index published annually by Transparency International.  The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index provides a rating of 0 to 100 for each Country each year, with 100 being the best theoretical corruption-free rating and 0 being the worst. You can see the Index here.  To create our Just and Civil Society SweetScore, we take the 2018 Index rating and convert it into a scale of 1 to 10 rating, rounding up as we do so, so that any Country with an Index rating greater than 60 up to and including 70 gets a SweetScore of 7, any Country with an Index rating greater than 70 up to and  including 80 gets a SweetScore of 8, etc.  Because the Corruption Perceptions Index is a Country Index only, all States in the United States get the rating for the United States.  So you’ll see that each State Just and Civil Society SweetScore is the same.

We are not affiliated with Transparency International in any way and: (1) nothing on SweetScore should be considered to represent the views of Transparency International and (2) even though we reference ratings and/ or information published by Transparency International, the views of Transparency International do not necessarily represent the views of SweetScore.

U.S. Balance of Trade.

This Issue looks at the balance in the value of the trade in goods between the U.S. and other individual countries, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau in its Trade in Goods report for 2018. You can see the report and find the figures we use here. Many would rightly point out that this measure is simplistic and that bi-lateral trade is ultimately far less important than multilateral trade flows. We agree with that thought, but we offer this measure up as a simple yard stick consumers can use that we think still has utility, however simple.

The reason we include the Issue at all is that – leaving aside all other reasons one might care about the issue (and there are many) – we believe that the enormous trade imbalances that have been created in recent years are destabilizing societies and contributing to the rise in authoritarianism.   Those living in cities and towns that have seen relatively high paying manufacturing jobs disappear and not be replaced with equivalent jobs can be forgiven to being anxious about their families’ well being and for being willing to listen to those proposing radical “solutions” (e.g. Brexit, building boarder walls, etc.).

See the book Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism, by Robert Kuttner and publisher W.W. Norton.

To create our SweetScores for Countries for this Issue, we: (1) look at the total value of exports from the Country to the US and the total value of exports from the U.S. to the Country for 2018, as provided in the Census Bureau report (the “Total Trade”); (2) take the amount by which exports from the other Country to the U.S. for 2018 exceeded exports to the Country from the U.S. for 2018 (if any) and determine what percentage of Total Trade that represents; (3) take 100% minus that number to determine a score; (4) divide that score by 10 to get a score of 1 to 10; and (5) round up to create our SweetScore for the Country. As an example, if Country A exports more to the U.S. than the U.S. exports to Country A, and if the difference, as a percentage the value of total trade is less than 20% but more than 10%, then Country A will receive a 9 rating. If Country B exports less to the U.S. than the U.S. exports to it, Country B will receive a 10 rating.

A General Note

It’s our goal, over time, to introduce tools that will let you customize the SweetScores you see, based on your own input as to what issues you most care about, but we’re not there yet.  Note too that the methodology we use to determine SweetScore’s may change over time.  If it does, we’ll update our description above about how SweetScore’s are determined.

Thanks for your understanding and your interest in and support of SweetScore.

SweetScore

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