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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.

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

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7.

Jain Irrigation Systems

Edwin T. McFadden III, left, and wife Viki McFadden, right, who farm 500 acres of citrus and avocados in Fillmore, Ventura County talk with Mark Clifton, center, of Jain Irrigation Inc looking for a better drip watering system as they attend the 2014 World Ag Expo in Tulare, California.
Photograph by Al Seib — LA Times via Getty Images

Jain has built its business by improving the livelihoods of 5 million small farmers in India. Based in the country’s western Maharashtra state, Jain began selling micro-irrigation systems in 1986, when it recognized that the technology, commonly used in industrial agriculture, could be adapted for local growers, whose tiny landholdings were traditionally watered by rain or blunt flooding techniques. As Jain’s “More crop per drop” slogan promised, yields increased dramatically—50% to 300%, depending on the plant—as did farmers’ incomes. And Jain continues to boost both in other ways as well: It has introduced more-viable crop varieties and trained farmers on more productive growing techniques, such as high-density planting for mangoes. The company also branched into solar water pumps (electricity is often scarce on the farm), financing, and food processing—for the likes of Coca-Cola and Unilever—so that there is a ready market for these farmers’ wares. The company, the world’s second-largest seller of drip-irrigation systems, now does business in 116 countries.

Company Info

Sector Industrials
Industry Machinery
Country India
Revenues ($ millions) 990
Company type Public
CEO Anil Bhavarlal Jain
Website http://www.jains.com
Impact Segment Economic Opportunity/Financial Inclusion

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