DuPont at number 1 surprises me. Their teflon liability problems probably tainted my view, and I grew up in a DuPont town where I saw a stream of their industrial wastes flowing into the local river. But these are small issues compared to their recent reduction in energy consumption and their leadership replacing ozone depleting gases. Alcoa at number 5 is another surprise.
BusinessWeek’s Top Green Companies are:
- DuPont (U.S.)
- BP (Britain)
- Bayer (Germany)
- BT (Britain)
- Alcoa (U.S.)
Back in the mid-1980s, DuPont created a profitable business selling substitutes for chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants that were destroying the earth’s protective ozone layer. Tackling climate change "was a natural extension of this experience," explained environmental manager Mack McFarland. DuPont has reduced energy consumption 7% below 1990 levels, saving more than $2 billion-including at least $10 million per year by using renewable resources.
The world is changing faster than anyone expected. Not only is the Earth warming, bringing more intense storms and causing Artic ice to vanish, but the political and policy landscape is being transformed even more dramatically. Already, certain industries are facing mandatory limits on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in some of the 129 countries that have signed the Kyoto Protocol.
A surprising number of companies in old industries such as oil and materials as well as high-tech are preparing for this profoundly altered world. They are moving swiftly to measure and slash their greenhouse gas emissions. And they are doing it despite the Bush Administration’s opposition to mandatory curbs. As the debate over climate change shifts from scientific data to business-speak such as "efficiency investment" and "material risk," CEOs are suddenly understanding why climate change is important. Far from breaking the bank, cutting energy use and greenhouse emissions can actually fatten the bottom line and create new business opportunities, while simultaneously greening up companies’ reputations.