Fortune magazine on March 21 unveiled its special report “Going Green” which includes a list of 10 companies that go beyond what the law requires to operate in an environmentally responsible way. The companies cited by Fortune as being ahead of the learning curve on the strategic value of environmentalism in their industries include, in no particular order: Honda, Continental Airlines, Suncor, Tesco, Alcan, PG&E, S.C. Johnson, Goldman Sachs, Swiss RE and Hewlett-Packard. In separate stories, Fortune also notes the environmental efforts of Patagonia and DuPont, along with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The “10 Green Giants” and related stories appear in the April 2 issue of Fortune, on newsstands March 26 with select stories available online at www.fortune.com.
In his introduction to the package, Fortune senior writer Marc Gunther notes that “big business and environmentalists used to be sworn enemies — and for good reason. General Electric dumped toxins into the Hudson River. Wal-Mart bulldozed its way across America. DuPont was named the nation’s worst polluter. The response from the environmental movement: mandate, regulate and litigate. Those days are mostly over. Today, big companies and activists are at least as apt to hammer out a partnership over a cup of sustainably grown coffee as to confront one another in court. No, they do not always see eye to eye, but the areas of common ground are getting broader. Why? For one thing, because there is money to be made.”
To select the companies on the “Green Giants” list Fortune began by soliciting nominations from environmentalists and consultants who have worked in the trenches of corporate America. They nominated nearly 100 companies. Fortune decided to concentrate on bigger firms because their environmental footprint is more important. Fortune also left out two very big companies, GE and Wal-Mart, whose environmental initiatives have been widely covered.