The Future 50 Sustainability All Stars
To find the companies for Fortune‘s Future 50 list, we and our partners at BCG’s Henderson Institute screen the universe of publicly traded companies to find those that have the greatest capacity to adapt—to reinvent themselves in whatever ways are necessary to sustain long-term growth. And as pollution and climate change become top-of-mind issues for both companies and their customers, “adaptation” often includes changing business practices to make them greener.
That’s why this year, for the first time, we’ve used information from financial data company Refinitiv to draw up a list of “Sustainability All Stars” to complement the Future 50. The all stars are the companies from this year’s list that scored highest on the 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.)
Future 50 companies are heavily concentrated in technology, especially in software—and code-writing obviously has a much smaller environmental impact than, say, making chemicals. But these companies each make concerted efforts to make their emissions footprints even smaller. And many also make products that help customers do the same thing.
Here are this year’s top 10.
Refinitiv environmental pillar score: 96.0
The Silicon Valley software-maker, known for popular online tax and accounting services TurboTax and QuickBooks, has stayed ahead of its competition by repeatedly reinventing itself. Among the things it has reinvented is its energy footprint. Intuit says it has been carbon neutral since 2015 (that is, it takes as much carbon out of the atmosphere as it puts in), and that 76% of the energy it used in 2018 came from renewable sources.
2. Dassault Systèmes
Environmental score: 95.2
This French company’s core business is, in one sense, an environment-saver. Dassault’s popular “3D Experience” product-design platform enables engineers in industries ranging from aerospace to boatmaking to virtually build and test prototypes without having to use and discard as many real-life materials. The company has also been rigorous about reducing its own carbon output and working with “green” suppliers.
Environmental score: 94.5
Google’s parent company is best known for online search and digital advertising. But the company also has a slowly expanding hardware empire, and it is working to make it “green.” Alphabet’s newest Nest networked-home products, for example, rely heavily on recycled materials. This September, Google signed a package of energy deals that the company said represented the biggest-ever purchase of renewable energy by a corporation—enough, CEO Sundar Pichai said, to power all of Uruguay.
Environmental score: 93.9
Autodesk’s computer-aided design (CAD) programs are widely used by architects and civil engineers, and they’ve become crucial tools in the building of eco-friendly buildings and infrastructure. The company has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 41% since 2009, and it now gets 100% of the energy for its data centers and facilities from renewable sources.
Environmental score: 93.8
This provider of human-resources and financial-management software has topped the Future 50 list two years in a row. The company is aiming to reach “net-zero” carbon emissions by 2021, and has already reached that goal for its offices and data centers, thanks to a combination of renewable-energy sourcing and buying carbon offsets.
Environmental score: 93.7
The maker of the document-creation software Acrobat can arguably take credit from preventing countless millions of trees from being turned into paper, and the sharing of PDFs is far less resource-intensive than the printing (and mailing by plane, train, and automobile) of documents. Adobe says that almost three quarters of its workforce is now based in LEED-certified buildings, which meet the highest standards for energy conservation.
Environmental 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.
Environmental score: 91.9
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 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.
Environmental score: 87.7
Nvidia’s powerful semiconductors and software are playing a growing role in autonomous vehicles—machines that many engineers believe will someday make vehicle transportation far more energy efficient. In the present day, the company says that 22 of the world’s 25 most energy-efficient supercomputers run on Nvidia chips.
Environmental score: 87.4
Cloud computing reduces the global carbon footprint considerably, by keeping companies from having to build and operate their own, often redundant server and storage centers. And Amazon Web Services, Amazon.com’s cloud division, is by far the biggest player in that field. The company’s core retail business, meanwhile, has made concerted efforts to reduce its overall packaging load, and to use more recyclable materials in the packaging it does deploy.
More must-read stories from Fortune:
—The 2019 Fortune Future 50: See which companies made the list
—How the Fortune Future 50 identifies companies with long-term growth potential
—Businesses are balancing tomorrow’s opportunity and today’s capacity
—Spotify saved the music industry. Now what?
—Inside James Dyson’s costly decision to kill his electric car
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