Mother Earth is getting a little bit of relief as more companies yield to pressure from environmentalists and activist shareholders to reduce their carbon footprints. But Gaia isn't the only one who's benefiting: Just ask the world's top 10 green companies, which have managed to save some serious greenbacks in the process of going green.

IBM (IBM), which tops the chart of Newsweek's 2010 global green rankings, saved more than $370 million from its energy conservation efforts during the 19-year span leading up to 2009, the company says. And IBM isn't alone. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which ranked No. 5 on Newsweek's green rankings chart, managed to save £3.8 million (nearly $6.3 million) in energy costs during a three-year period by reducing its carbon footprint by 4%, according to an Energy Efficiency News report.

And even during these dour economic times, companies are apparently willing to increase their investments in green efforts, according to an MIT Sloan and Boston Consulting Group study on global sustainability and innovation. The report found 25% of survey respondents had expressed a willingness to increase their sustainability commitment in 2009, but that figure rose to 59% in 2010. And over the next year, 70% of survey respondents said they expected to increase their investments and sustainability management efforts.

"The reason for this continued investment is there is an expanded view that moves from a purely [regulatory] compliance stance to a realization of operation efficiency that can effect profitability," says James Salo, senior vice president of strategy and research for Trucost, a firm designed to quantify environmental risks and their costs.

A decade ago, that wasn't the case with U.S. companies, which were woefully behind industry titans in Europe. But domestic businesses have been making green gains, especially in the past three years, Salo says. He points to two key drivers of the change: regulatory threats, such as a move made by the federal Environmental Protection Agency late last year to establish guidelines to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and efforts by Fortune 500 companies like Walmart (WMT) to push their suppliers to also improve their carbon footprints.

Despite Walmart's effort to bring its suppliers into the fold, the world's biggest retailer didn't land among the top 10 in Newsweek's rankings -- it came in 39th. Here's how the top 10 scored, based on their carbon footprints, policies and strategies for addressing their footprints, and reputations among environmentalists:

  1. International Business Machines - 100
  2. Hewlett- Packard (HPQ) - 99.3
  3. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) - 98.5
  4. Sony (SNE) - 96.4
  5. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) - 94.2
  6. Novartis (NVS) - 91.5
  7. Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY) - 91.4
  8. Panasonic (PC) - 90.7
  9. HSBC Holdings (HBC) - 90.2
  10. Toshiba (TOSBF) - 87.7

While companies have made headway in going green, the next frontier that looms is standardizing the type of green information that's collected and the way that it's presented, Salo says. "We are still a long ways off," he notes.

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April 28 2011 at 10:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


April 25 2011 at 10:37 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

How profitable is going Green without government subsidies?

April 24 2011 at 10:35 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Why are some people against conservation of our natural resources? Greed. The Bible warns us about money, "Money is the root of all evil." Think before you Vote.

April 24 2011 at 8:45 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to knute9's comment


April 25 2011 at 10:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I promise you that you will be paying double to your power company once they all are forced to convert to alternative energy sources. Right now alternative energy sources are wind turbine and solar panels.There are very few of them in existence today. The utilities are forced to buy this power at much higher rates,passing the costs onto the consumers at higher rates.Power companies can use our abundant natural gas to create electric energy at lower costs but the environmentalists are fighting this. Obama is in the Environmentalists pocket.Presently energy is created by using hydro,natural gas,coal and atomic as its source of energy. Think about how many wind farms and solar fields it will take to produce the present amount of electricity.

April 23 2011 at 8:43 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

What has President President Obama and Democrats done?
* 1.8 million job creation
* 20 months of manufacturing gains
* 20 months of export gains
* Retail sales up
* New construction permits – up 11%
* Demand for machinery and equipment way up from 100% write offs for improvements made in this country
* Trade deficit actually has seen a decline
* Illegal Immigration: Passed legislation holding businesses accountable for hiring illegals – no job, go home.
* Dow has gone from 6500 to 12,400
* IRS given resources to go after offshore accounts with over 14,000 coming forward
* Eliminated incentives for corporations to go overseas
* Eliminated 2004 gop for overseas profits to be taxed at 5%
* Passed legislation that addresses the problems of the 2002 gop banking legislation that allowed predatory lending and less oversite on wallstreet, banks, and mortgage companies
* And those ground break ceremonies he attended – now hiring at $12 to $18 an hour (but he was just campaigning)
* In 2007 dems took money away from big oil and steered it toward our auto industry for R&D with mandates for better mileage and now low and behold we have suv's that get 32 mpg as well as waiting lists for chevy volts and almost all auto workers have returned to work
* Electric batteries, charging stations, and wind turbines slated overseas under Bush are being built here now
* National debt – President Obama directed the secretary of defense to come up with wasteful spending in defense because this is a huge part of the budget and doubled under Bush. The secretary of defense reported this to congress in January. How much did Boehner and the gop cut from defense? $3 billion. Ryan’s budget? Zero. Obama? $400 billion over 12 years.

And now the gop governor of Maine is changing child labor laws so they too can work longer for less. Every day it’s another attack on working families from the gop.

And the gop continues to cut jobs and wages while fighting for more tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Same old gop failed policies. I'd say Obama and dems have stepped on a few toes.

April 23 2011 at 8:39 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to inasctg56's comment

You conveniently left out tripling the deficit and driving the dollar into the dirt.

April 23 2011 at 11:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Sorry. You're just wrong. "Predatory Lending??" Banks didn't corral people from the street and make them take out a mortgage. Defense spending is minute compared to entitlement spending ( you sound like a youngster, just wait, you'll feel the effects) The "tax cut for the rich" included the 10% bracket (I know you have never paid INCOME TAX. I'm not talking about the amount taken out of your paycheck( that's OASDI and MEDICARE. They're insurance, not income tax.)
Eliminated incentives for corporations to go overseas??? Democrats chased Halliburton to Dubai!!!!!!!!!
I haven't heard anything about federal wage reductions. Please enlightment me.
By "working families, you probably mean spoiled union workers.
WIND trubines??????? Do you even know what a turbine is??? I doubt it.

April 23 2011 at 11:20 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

There IS money in converting to alternative energy. The problem is the conservatism of so many that would rather look back and say how great the good old days were. They never were good, but it is so easy to say they were.

Why does every home in Nevada not have a hot water tank on the roof? Why is the building codes in the SW states especially not REQUIRING this in issuing permits? Why are we not leading in the manufacture of solar panels and also state that the building permit require so much savings through the use of solar panels? For what we spend on going to war, we could achieve breakthroughs in solar application. Even in Northern states.

Why are we not converting all diesel trucks on the road to natural gas, which is still a polluter but on a lesser scale; plus this would eliminate a huge amount of oil imports. Natural gas is so abundant in this country it isn't even funny and the price right now is , inflation adjusted, at almost record lows.

The problem we have is, again, conservatism. That and the fact that energy companies like prices high and their subsidies coming in.

With changes you kill a low of birds. Gas at the tank has a real cost of up to $14 per gallon, if you take into account how much of our military it takes to procure and secure it, this not counting the lives that are lost. With change you control so much pollution. But CHANGE is the big bugaboo.

April 23 2011 at 11:28 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sasha's comment

Converting diesel trucks to natural gas is being discussed in Washington right now. I saw it on cspan last week.

April 23 2011 at 8:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The new strain of insilage ethanol corn I'm developing scrubs Carbon right out of thin air and cleans the atmosphere
eliminating Global Warming...something oil & petroleum could never do. This new ethanol insilage corn could never create an environmental mess like that in the Gulf of Mexico is now. It's clean. It combusts clean. And the side product of silage is used to feed cattle & dairy cows to produce T-bone steaks, BBQ ribs, juicy hamburgers, milk, butter, and softy ice cream.....Alfred-

April 22 2011 at 7:24 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

If you are one of the many people who think going is about the environment
I would ask you to take a closer look. Going green is about making money
by people who could careless about the environment.
All the solar cells comming out of china where manufactured using
unsound practices and the carbon payback is so poor they would need to last
twice there life expectancy to just break even. You may be able to shop smart
and curb your output of carbon if you feel the need but it may not be so easy to
reduce that footprint as you think. The idea of being off the grid is enough to motivate
me the less taxes and fees I pay the better.

April 22 2011 at 7:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to BUFFALO's comment

I would suppose if one actually read the article before they might see that these corporations MAKE money by saving money!

April 23 2011 at 11:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply



After doing research on global soil, air and water contamination and reading
James Lovelock's ideas. I believe that I MAY have some very viable solutions to
offer in regards to Global Warming that may help the world slow it down and
possibly stop further damage, but we will have to act now and it will take
Global Team Work to incorporate my ideas immediately to help us.
This is my idea because we need to work on this problem 24 hrs a day.

1. Start up above ground plankton farms around the globe to grow plankton
globally, reason; (plankton is a natural oxygen plant that contains the most
oxygen in the world) we can start to incorporate our plankton farms using our
current fish hatcheries immediately, fish will love it and it is a win win
bigger healthier fish as
well ! !
2. EPA challenge to clean up our contaminated soil and grow more food & produce
more clean air... a done deal ! ! All we need to do is the following; (my idea
will need to be verified by scientist) Mix, Plankton, Ilmenite soil, Peridotite
soil and proper fertilizers into our contaminated land, this should clean up the
soil and produce the best farming soil as well as adding clean air to our
environment in every way and as a bonus Boost the economy by adding more jobs.
Why this would work ??
Common sense, the more above Plankton farms the more clean oxygen to the

Another Idea that I STRONGLY Feel Needs To Be Done Immediately & If We Use
Team Work And Get All Of The Boats and Ships In The Spill Area To start This

Ocean, Lakes & Canals Oxygen Aerators That WILL Help Replace The Needed Oxygen
To Our Oceans, Lakes, Reservoirs & Canals ! !

( I have designed and used THESE SIMPLE PVC Plastic Pipes That Have small Holes
Drilled In Them and they WORK AWSOME, CHEAPLY & EFFECTIVELY ! ! )

We can fabricate hundreds of these inexpensive, easy, fast to build Ocean,
Lakes, Canal & Reservoir Aerators.

All that is needed to build these Aerators is an air compressor, attached to a
plastic capped off at one end PVC plastic/galvanized pipe that you drill several
holes in to fabricate these simple Aerators, then just lower them in place and
crank up the air pressure.

(similar to your home fish aquarium, that supplies the needed oxygen for fish
and plants to live)

Just Imagine How Much Oxygen That We Can Put Back Into Our Oceans If We Do
This Just By Using The Resources That We Already Have In Place... Our Fishing
Fleets & Ships Are Already In Place And Most Of Them Already Have Air
Compressors On Board ! !

We Can Install These Aerators On All Of The Oil Drilling Rigs In The World That
Are Already Built ! !

Please Pass This On To Whoever Is In Charge And WILL TAKE THIS PROVEN IDEA THAT

Thank You, Respectfully, Michael V. Caldwell... Hope these
ideas help and can be added to your ideas....

April 22 2011 at 2:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to americandoo's comment
Hi Gram, Ty&Dill

Don't compressors need energy to make them run? I guess you'd need a generator too. How much gas will these generators have to burn to pump oxygen into the water?Rather than burn gas to accomplish this maybe you should feed the fish refried beans and let them aerate the water naturally.

April 23 2011 at 12:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply