Stakeholder Trends and Insights
Welcome to the New Green Giants

At Sustainable Brands ’16 San Diego, I’m announcing an additional eight Green Giants. Find out who the new billion-dollar sustainable business leaders are here.

What’s the business case for sustainability? A BILLION DOLLARS.

That’s what my book, Green Giants: How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability Into Billion-Dollar Businesses, published in August 2015, set out to prove. The book profiled nine companies that have succeeded in generating a billion dollars or more in annual revenue from products or services with sustainability or social good at their core. It also identified the Six Common Factors that account for the Green Giants’ uncommon success.

Well, over the past 10 months I’ve been contacted by people all over the world drawing my attention to additional Giants that could have been added to the original list, or that reached the Billion-dollar benchmark in the interim. It felt like time for an update.

So today, during my plenary session at SB’16 San Diego, I’m pleased to welcome eight more Green Giants to the fold (and there are more to come later this year). Like the initial nine, they span sectors - although there’s a stronger retail showing in this crop, and consumer goods play a major role. This list also favors the US market. And fascinatingly, two of the eight are co-ops – an extraordinary argument for this centuries-old business idea.

These eight companies help further strengthen the business case and prove again that increasingly, sustainability is not just where you spend, give or save money; it’s how you make it.

Here are the eight new Giants:

  1. Organic Valley, America’s largest organic cooperative and the first billion-dollar, all-organic food company. Today the farmer-owned co-op includes 1,800 family farms.
  2. Hain Celestial, a 20+-year-old organic and natural products company, home to brands including Ella’s Kitchen and BluePrint Organic Juices. Over 40 percent of the company’s brands are organic and its products are more than 99 percent GMO-free.
  3. REI, an outdoor specialty retailer, the nation’s largest consumer co-operative with 6 million active members in 2015. The co-op returned 3⁄4 of its profits to the outdoor community and shared $165 million in dividends and refunds with its members earlier this year.
  4. Target’s Made to Matter collection, a range of purpose-driven brands including Mrs. Meyers, Method, Clif Bar, Babyganics and many more. Products included in the program experienced growth 1.5 times faster than their growth outside of Target.
  5. 5. Walmart’s Sustainable Leaders program exceeded $1.5B in US sales in 2015. To qualify as a Sustainability Leader, the supplier must rank as #1 in their product category, or receive a score above 80/100 on The Sustainability Index.
  6. 6. Vestas, the first Green Giant power company, provides the most wind energy of any company in the world - currently 75 GW with more in the pipeline (for context, that’s enough to power 40.7 million households).
  7. 7. Costco’s Kirkland Organics private label brand of organic produce, meat, and poultry achieved $4B in sales in 2015, meaning CostCo may now be America’s largest organic grocer.
  8. Kroger Simple Truth and Kroger Simple Truth Organic line of products at 2,774 Kroger stores are typical grocery items (chicken, pasta, frozen breakfast sandwiches and canned food) that are natural and organic.

They join the original nine Green Giants: Tesla, Unilever, Toyota, Nike, GE, IKEA, Whole Foods, Natura and Chipotle. Together, the new Green Giant lines of business generate in excess of a collective $24B a year in sales/revenue for their parent companies annually, bringing the total Green Giants annual revenue to over $150B. And there are more to come that I’ll be announcing later this year.

The new Green Giants provide proof that the momentum is growing, and the pace of change accelerating.

So, two thoughts for you: Next time you’re setting a sustainability target, consider setting a revenue target: A BILLION-DOLLAR REVENUE TARGET.

And second: It’s time to get started. IT’S TIME TO GO BUILD THE NEXT GREEN GIANT - before your competitor does.

Let’s get started!


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