10 green giants

These companies have gone beyond what the law requires to operate in an environmentally responsible way.

S.C. Johnson
S.C. Johnson has eliminated millions of pounds of pollutants from products like Windex and Raid through its Greenlist process.
S.C. Johnson
Location: Racine, Wis.
Year founded: 1886
Revenue: $7 Billion
Employees: 12,000
Three generations of committed environmental stewardship.

In 1935, long before sustainability became a corporate buzzword, H.F. Johnson Jr. led a 15,000-mile expedition to Brazil in search of a sustainable source of wax, the carnauba palm tree, for his company's first product, Johnson's Wax.

His grandson and the current CEO, Fisk Johnson, has continued that legacy at S.C. Johnson, a family-owned company that makes Windex, Pledge, Ziploc bags and Raid. Its most notable innovation is its Greenlist process, a classification system that evaluates the impact of thousands of raw materials on human and environmental health. By using Greenlist, S.C. Johnson eliminated 1.8 million pounds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from Windex and four million pounds of polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) from Saran Wrap, which is now PVDC-free. (VOCs and PVDC are both pollutants.) The company licenses Greenlist royalty-free to other firms that want to use it. It is also cutting back its reliance on coal-fired power, recently building its own power plant that runs on natural gas and methane piped in from a nearby landfill. Glenn Pricket of Conservation International says that when it comes to the environment, "Fisk Johnson is probably the most personally committed CEO I've met." --Marc Gunther







S.C. Johnson

Goldman Sachs

Swiss Re

Sources: Department of Energy; Eia; Ceres; Aron Cramer; Business for Social Responsibility; Dan Esty; Jonathan Lash, World Resources Institute; Matthew Kiernan, Innovest Strategic Value Advisors; Fred Krupp, Environmental Defense; Joel Makower, Greener World Media; Kld Research; Natural Resources Defense Council; Glen Pricket, Conservation International; Andrew Savitz
The Governator's green agenda When Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor in 2003, the environment was not high on his agenda. Now it is. That matters, because where California goes, the rest of the country just may follow. (more)
And when the icecaps do melt... Global warming = less ice = more water = surf's up! Patagonia's new high-tech wetsuit is just the latest milestone in a long history of eco-friendly innovations. (more)
Blueprint for green business The story of how Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard took his passion for the outdoors and turned it into an amazing business. (more)