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51 companies that are changing the world.

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For Fortune’s first “Change the World” list, we’ve found 51 companies that have made a sizable impact on major global social or environmental problems as part of their competitive strategy. This list is not meant to be a ranking of the overall “goodness” of companies or of their “social responsibility.” Big corporations are complex operations that affect the world in myriad ways. The goal here is simply to shine a spotlight on instances where companies are doing good as part of their profit-making strategy, and to shed new light on the power of capitalism to improve the human condition.

To assemble our list, the editors of Fortune and FSG, a nonprofit social-impact consulting firm, reached out to dozens of business, academic, and nonprofit experts around the world, asking for their recommendations. Fortune and a joint team from FSG and the Shared Value Initiative then vetted more than 200 nominees. In our evaluation, we considered four criteria: the degree of business innovation involved, the measurable impact at scale on an important social challenge, the contribution of the shared-value activities to the company’s profitability and competitive advantage, and the significance of the shared value effort to the overall business. A team of journalists from Fortune then further vetted each of the nominees and reported on their impact. The final list of 51 was selected and ranked by the editors of Fortune based on the magazine’s own reporting and by the analysis provided.


By Erika Fry with additional reporting by Scott Cendrowski, Jonathan Chew, Ryan Daly, Brian Dumaine, Nina Easton, Claire Groden, Matt Heimer, Kia Kokalitcheva, Beth Kowitt, Michal Lev-Ram, Laura Lorenzetti, Brian O’Keefe, Scott Olster, Anne Vandermey, Phil Wahba, Vivienne Walt, Jen Wieczner, and Claire Zillman.

Nike, Cisco, MasterCard, SABMiller, Vodafone, Google—and 45 other companies that are doing well by doing good.

See our methodology and credits


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Equity Bank

Courtesy of Equity Bank

Only 34% of sub-Saharan Africans have a bank account, according to the World Bank—but that’s up from 24% in 2011, thanks in part to Equity Bank. The Kenyan lender has pioneered the expansion of financial services across the continent, including mobile banking (see also our No. 1 pick). Once a struggling mortgage financier, Equity pivoted to microfinance, bringing branches to the countryside and offering small loans to Africa’s unbanked. It’s now one of the continent’s largest financial institutions in terms of customers—with more than 10 million.

Company Info

Sector Financials
Industry Banks
Country Kenya
Revenues ($ millions) 612
Company type Private
CEO James Njuguna Mwangi
Impact Segment Economic Opportunity/Financial Inclusion

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