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51 companies that are changing the world.

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Methodology

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.

Credits

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.

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24.

Patagonia

Mich Kemeter takes a leash fall while highlining in the Belvedere Carrel sector of the Verdon Gorges.
Photograph by Alexandre Buisse

In 1996, Patagonia staked its reputation as a green retailer by removing all conventional cotton from its apparel to end its reliance on pesticides. Since then the company made public the environmental footprint of its garments and produced items made from recycled materials. Patagonia’s “Don’t buy this jacket” campaign, launched in 2011, urged customers to purchase less stuff and reuse what they already owned, enshrining the company as a sustainability stalwart. Despite the slogan, over the next two years annual sales grew almost 40%.

Company Info

Sector Industrials
Industry Apparel
Country U.S.
Revenues ($ millions) 600
Company type Private
CEO Rose Marcario
Website http://www.patagonia.com
Impact Segment Environmental Impact

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