With all the greenwash these days, how would you go about picking the ten greenest corporations? Fortune's team of reporters started by soliciting 100 "nominations from environmentalists and consultants who have worked in the trenches of corporate America," according to the magazine. Sounds like a given. But other magazines actually run lists of best companies based on self-reported data and advertising dollars.
Most notoriously, Working Mother has named Union Pacific five times one of the best places for women to work, even though it pays for employees' Viagra and Rogaine but not contraceptives. The UP flack's spin is, "We are thrilled that Working Mother has recognized our efforts to create a culture that helps employees balance work and families." Working Mother also includes firms facing class-action suits for sex harassment. And it has named Allstate, American Express, and General Mills among the 8 best firms for women of color. But at each, 30% of new hourly hires are women of color, but 0% of newly hired executives are.
Distinguishing hype from hope in green business was a focus of Mother Jones' November issue. We reported BP's blundered but well-publicized attempt to go "Beyond Petroleum" and the near-religious conversion of a carpet industry captain.
Now for the names. Drum roll please. Fortune's "Ten Green Giants" are Honda, Continental Airlines, Tesco, PG&E, S.C. Johnson, Goldman Sachs, Swiss Re, Hewlett-Packard, Alcan, and Suncor. Any objections?