Skip to Content

The Change the World Sustainability All Stars

Climate change and pollution are challenges for communities all over the world—and consequently, corporate efforts to combat those problems have always been a hallmark of the Change the World list. In fact, of the 52 companies chosen by Fortune’s editors and writers for the 2019 list, 18 were recognized primarily for their impact on environmental and climate issues.

Just as notably, many Change the World companies that Fortune has recognized for other attributes have also posted noteworthy records on climate and environment. So this year, for the first time, we’ve used information from financial data company Refinitiv to draw up a list of “Sustainability All Stars.” 

What follows are the companies from this year’s list that scored highest on Refinitiv’s Sustainable Leadership Monitor, a metric developed by Refinitiv that assesses companies based on their environmental innovation, resource use, and efforts to limit emissions, among other factors. (Click here to learn more about Refinitiv's ESG data.)

Here are this year’s top 10.

1. Philips NV

Refinitiv environmental pillar score: 99.4

This Dutch multinational, which is increasingly focused on healthcare products, has been a leader for years in green financing and environmental reporting. Recently, the company has been making strides in reducing its own energy use—it aims to be carbon-neutral in 2020, and relies on wind energy in both the U.S. and the Netherlands to power its operations—as well as the energy use of its products, from more efficient MRI systems in hospitals to the batteries in rechargeable electric toothbrushes. Meanwhile, Philips has become an advocate and practitioner of the “circular economy”, pushing to cut its waste to zero by taking back large medical equipment to reuse and refurbish components. 

2. IBM

Environmental score: 97.8

IBM has been gradually converting to green power; in 2018, the tech giant derived 37.9% of its energy from renewable sources. It has also been inventive about using less energy. For example, in recent years its Hybrid Cloud program has consolidated its 42 data centers down to just six, cutting energy-consumption by about two-thirds.

3. Lloyd’s Banking Group

Environmental score: 96.3

This 70,000-employee English bank trimmed its overall energy consumption by 39% between 2009 and 2018, in part by sharply reducing the energy consumed in business travel. The bank has also stated that it will no longer finance or service the most heavily polluting energy-industry projects, including new coal-fired power plants and projects related to extraction or production of oil from oil sands.

4. Intel

Environmental score: 95.8

Semiconductor manufacturing is extremely water-intensive, and Intel—which is headquartered in drought-prone California—has made water conservation a central pillar of its corporate citizenship. The company says that in 2017, it restored 80% of the water it used to local communities and watersheds, either by treating and returning it to its pre-use state, or by contributing to supply and conservation projects that offset the water it used. Intel aims to reach 100% restoration by 2025. 

5. Walmart

Environmental score: 95.1

The five-time Change the World list honoree has used its leverage as the world’s largest company to become a leader in sustainable practices. The retail giant has sharply reduced its own waste: In fiscal 2019, it says, it diverted away from landfills and incineration 78% of the waste it produced. And Walmart’s Project Gigaton is incentivizing its huge network of suppliers to sharply curb their own greenhouse-gas emissions.

6. Apple

Environmental pillar score: 93.8

Apple has long been one of the tech world’s leaders in using renewable energy in manufacturing. More recently, Apple has begun tackling one of its industry’s thornier problems: The fast-growing amount of often-toxic detritus created by discarded electronic gear. Apple in 2017 announced a goal of making all of its products from recycled or renewable material—and eventually, only from such material. In April, it opened its Material Recovery Lab in Austin, Texas, where the company is doing the research that it hopes will get it there. Among its innovations: A robotic recycling system called Daisy, which can disassemble up to 200 iPhones per hour and separate them into their component parts for eventual reuse.

    Click here to read Fortune’s inside look at Apple’s Material Recovery Lab.

7. Santander Brasil

Environmental pillar score: 93.3

In a nation where deforestation is a hot-button topic, Santander Brasil has won plaudits for financing a range of sustainable forestry projects. It’s also a substantial investor in projects designed to lower the environmental impact of agriculture and livestock, and a leading financier of wind farms, solar thermal power stations, and other renewable-energy projects.

8. Prudential Financial

Environmental pillar score: 93.1

The Newark, N.J., financial-services giant has been steadily increasing the amount of its portfolio that it commits to environmentally sustainable investing. One standout arm of its business: Its PGIM Real Estate commercial property group, which owns nearly $14 billion worth of buildings that meet the high standards for LEED certification in emissions reduction and energy conservation.

9. Accenture

Environmental pillar score: 92.6

The consulting giant has claimed substantial successes in reducing its own environmental footprint: The company says its per-employee carbon output has dropped 52% since 2007. At the same time, green business has become a revenue driver: Accenture increasingly works with clients to make their own companies more sustainable. 

10. Salesforce

Environmental pillar score: 89.5

Salesforce built a $13 billion business around helping companies track their sales metrics; now it’s helping them track “green” metrics, too. A new app lets Salesforce customers measure and analyze the carbon emissions of a wide range of elements of their businesses, including the equipment in their data centers and their employees’ business travel. Currently in a 10-customer pilot program, the app is part of a broader Salesforce campaign to persuade its corporate peers to transparently report their environmental impact to shareholders—something Salesforce has won plaudits from securities law experts for doing in its own annual filings.

More must-read stories from Fortune:

Fortune Change the World 2019: See which companies made the list
Q&A: Walmart CEO Doug McMillon on automation, the tragedy in El Paso, and more
—America’s CEOs seek a new purpose for the corporation
—Someday, Apple may make your new iPhone out of pieces of your old iPhone
—Change the World 2019: Companies to watch
Subscribe to Fortune’s CEO Daily newsletter for the latest business news and analysis.