Newsweek's profiles of the Top 10 greenest US companies

My previous post listed the Top 5 rankings

both in the US and globally from Newsweek’s research. Here are Newsweek’s

profiles of its Top 10 greenest US companies.


No 10. Nike

Nike stands out for its particularly strong

commitment to handling environmental issues in its supply chain. The company

has a number of programs in place for evaluating and improving the

environmental footprint of its suppliers, including checks on chemical

toxicity, water use, and carbon emissions. Nike is also progressing toward

carbon neutrality itself and aims to achieve it for company-owned facilities

and business travel by 2015. The company has worked to improve its own

environmental performance through increased efficiency and use of renewable

energy. For instance, it has reduced energy use substantially at some of its

facilities by installing energy efficient lighting and HVAC systems, and its

headquarters in Belgium and the Netherlands currently run on 100 percent

renewable energy (the Belgium facility actually produces more energy than it

uses). Nike is also investing in new teleconferencing equipment to cut down on

business travel. Nike had a Reputation Survey score of 97.39 (based on a survey

of academics, sustainability experts, and CEOs).

No 9. Yahoo

Yahoo. This

Internet giant encourages its 600

million worldwide users to be environmentally aware. Its Yahoo Green site is the top destination on the Internet

for green lifestyle tips. The company has also supported and worked on related

initiatives, including its “Be a Better Planet” program and its

annual Earth Day Web site. Yahoo is also a leader in improving the efficiency

of its data centres. Its efforts include purchasing energy from renewable

sources, such as hydroelectric facilities, and locating new data centres in

cooler climates to reduce AC needs. Its new data centre in Lockport, N.Y.,

which monitors the Yahoo infrastructure, consumes 40 percent less energy and

uses 95 percent less water than conventional data centres. The water saved is

enough to provide drinking water for 200,000 people for a year.

No 8. Applied Materials

This supplier of manufacturing systems and services to

the global semiconductor industry made great strides in reducing CO2 emissions

and water use last year, cutting each by 21 percent and 18 percent,

respectively, compared to 2006 levels. Both those reductions exceeded Applied Materials’ greening goals, but Applied also

acknowledges 2009 was an “unusual” year and says it is reviewing

internal data to try to maintain and improve on those numbers. The company also

has programs for reducing the hazardous waste it generates and the volatile organic

compounds (VOCs) it emits as part of its manufacturing. It has also made

significant strides in reducing solid waste sent to landfills by nearly 90


No 7. Adobe.

Three areas on which Adobe has focused are their office building

operations, their waste management program, and their product packaging. The

company currently has four buildings that are LEED certified by the U.S. Green

Building Council at the Platinum (highest) level, making Adobe a world leader

in this area. Employees at the company’s headquarters in San Jose, Calif., also

actively recycle and compost, diverting up to 97 percent of the site’s solid

waste from landfill. Lastly, Adobe launched an environmentally sensitive

redesign of its software packaging based on an evaluation of its packaging

materials, production, use, and disposal. The firm’s overall Green Rankings

green score came in at 94.15.

No 6. Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel was

the first U.S.-based wireless provider to announce a target for reducing its

absolute greenhouse-gas emissions. The goal: reduce emissions by 15 percent

between 2007 and 2017 by improving energy efficiency within its networks, and

by using renewable energy sources, such as hydrogen fuel cells, to replace

backup generators at its cell towers. The company boasts a portfolio of three

environmentally friendly phones, which is unusual in the industry. It also has

a well-known product-recycling program in which customers can return their old

cell phones, batteries, and accessories, regardless of brand, to Sprint for

free using a postage-paid label. In some cases, Sprint will even buy back old

equipment. Their aim is to recycle 99 percent of products; as of 2009 they were

recycling nearly half.

No 5. Intel

Intel’s efforts

to reduce waste and to mitigate its use and release of toxics are notable. It

has high recycling rates for both hazardous and non-hazardous waste and is

working to find suitable alternatives for toxic components in its products.

Intel also has a strong commitment to energy efficiency. The company ties a

portion of its employees’ compensation to reaching environmental goals, and its

Intel Core and Atom chips are among its greenest products. The corporation has

been the Environmental Protection Agency’s largest green power purchaser among

Fortune 500 companies for the past three years, with almost half its U.S.

energy coming from renewable sources. NEWSWEEK’s Rankings gave them an

environmental impact score of 95.74.

No 4. Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson stands

out among its competitors for its climate-change policies, with clear goals and

deadlines for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. This includes the

reduction of baseline 1990 CO2 emission levels by 7 percent by 2010—, goal the

company surpassed with a 16 percent absolute reduction. Between 2005 and 2009,

the company also reduced nonhazardous waste by 32 percent and hazardous waste

by 32 percent, exceeding its goal of 10 percent. Similar goals in paper, packaging,

and energy efficiency have been met or improved on through steps like the

company’s largest installation of solar panels at a New Jersey site. As a

result, a comprehensive assessment of their environmental initiatives earned

them a Green Policies score of 98.86 in our rankings.

No 3. IBM.

This global technology manufacturer has a strong program

for reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions and also offers products and

consulting services to help clients make their businesses greener. IBM set

out in the 1990s to reduce its own consumption of electricity and water, and

between 1990 and 2000 cut its energy use by 5.1 billion kilowatt hours, enough

to power a medium-size town. The company’s newest venture, its Sustainability

Management System technology, aims to help clients operate their commercial

buildings more efficiently. The product was a home-grown solution, allowing an

IBM semiconductor factory in Burlington, Vt., to cut water usage (a key

ingredient in chip-making) by 30 percent. The company has also participated in

a pilot program to reduce Stockholm’s traffic congestion, which resulted in a

14 percent drop in emissions from road traffic in the inner city. IBM is

working with London, Singapore, and Brisbane to address their

traffic-management and congestion challenges. For its overall excellent scores,

IBM ranked No. 3 on the U.S. list and No. 1 on the Global ranking.

No 2. Hewlett Packard

HP has long

been an industry leader in environmental issues. The company dates its

commitment to the philosophy of its founders, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard,

who believed technology can improve society. One of its most notable programs

aims to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and use renewable energy. In 2008, HP

began reporting greenhouse gases associated with its supply chain, making it

the first major tech company to do so. It is also working to reduce the energy

use of its products. If all the printers, PCs, and servers shipped in 2005 (all

models, all brands, globally) were recycled and replaced with new HP

energy-efficient models, the company estimates customers could save more than

$10.4 billion in energy costs and avoid the release of more than 40 million

metric tons of CO2 in the first year. That’s equivalent to shutting down 10

coal plants for an entire year. In addition to a strong Environmental Impact

Score (90.60), the company did very well in our Reputation Score, making it a

close second to Dell.

No 1. Dell

Dell has

built its sustainability strategy over the years by setting a series of

ambitious goals, several of which it has already met. In 2008, the company

announced it would reduce its total emissions by 40 percent by 2015. It is well

on the way to achieving that goal. Many of Dell’s efforts are also focused on

reducing the environmental impact of its products at all stages of their life

cycles, from design to disposal. The company’s laptops and desktops are now

built to use 25 percent less energy than comparable systems made in 2005. That

effort, among others, has saved its customers more than $5 billion in energy

costs over the past few years. The company has also used 7.2 million pounds of

post-consumer recycled plastic to build new computers–the equivalent of

recycling 263 million water bottles. Dell also has one of the tech industry’s

most comprehensive recycling programs. The company takes back and recycles any of

its products for free, and will also take back competitors’ products at no cost

with the purchase of new Dell computers or peripherals. Consumers can also mail

back old equipment, Dell will pick up items at their homes, or they can drop

them off at more than 2,000 Goodwill or 1,500 Staples locations. Based on their

strong Environmental Impact score, Reputation score, and excellent Green

Policies score, Dell was the No. 1 company in NEWSWEEK’s 2010 Green Rankings.