A company's brand extends beyond its product. It also includes the way the business conducts itself in the world around it, by the way it treats its associates, and how far it reaches out of its niche to make a difference in the name of goodwill.

Fortune 500 Companies That Make the World a Better Place

Chris Beck

Social responsibility: Some companies really get it.

Successful businesses are by nature socially responsible. If a company turns a profit, it can pay its employees well, underwrite its growth, and boost the economy. Some corporations are also able to advance medicine, provide for the needy and impact environmental awareness.

Whether it's UPS's emphasis on fuel efficiency for its mammoth fleet of vehicles, the happily employee-owned crew of Publix grocery stores, or Disney's awareness of human rights in its global factories, many companies demonstrate an ability to balance profits and social responsibility.

It's no surprise these companies are among the most admired in the world. Here are highlights from just a few of the best ones:

1.     Amazon’s job stimulus program

With Amazon's Career Choice Program, full-time employees tenured three years are eligible for company-sponsored training for well-paid, sought-after jobs. It doesn't even have to relate to the employees' current position – and can even be for something outside the company.

Inside the numbers

Employees can get $3,000 each year for four years for training from Amazon.

2.     Apple’s reduction of its carbon footprint

Apple leads the way in accountability for its carbon footprint – the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds it emits as a company. Apple reports numbers for facilities and products, which includes manufacturing, product use, recycling and transport.

Inside the numbers

Geothermal, hydro, solar and wind energy – all renewable sources – provide Apple data centers with 100% of their energy.

3.     Chevron’s contributions to HIV and AIDS awareness and treatment

Chevron has contributed to HIV/AIDS programs and to Tuberculosis and Malaria relief in Indonesia, South Africa and Thailand in 2013. On top of that, Chevron made a donation to the Global Fund, a non-profit organization that helps these same efforts worldwide.

Inside the numbers

Chevron's gifts total $55 million for the three causes.

4.     UPS’s fuel efficiency

Money.CNN.com reports UPS distributes 14.8 million parcels daily in more than 200 nations. UPS says fuel consumption accounts for 5.6% of its operating costs. Efficiency has been a trademark of UPS since it introduced an electric-powered fleet in New York City in the 1930s, way ahead of its time.

Inside the numbers

UPS' fleet of fuel-efficient vehicles exceeds 2,000, and includes those that use compressed natural gas, propane power and hybrid electric vehicles.

5.     Verizon’s artificial reefs

Verizon has taken its technology under the sea – to meld a system of artificial reefs and underwater sensors to improve water quality. Underwater monitors log and measure crucial data for the Billion Oyster Project, which protects the New York Harbor and its native oyster species from storm surge.

Inside the numbers

With the Clinton Global Objective, Verizon hopes to help the project restore 1 billion live oysters to New York Harbor by 2030.

A company's brand extends beyond its product. It also includes the way the business conducts itself in the world around it, by the way it treats its associates, and how far it reaches out of its niche to make a difference in the name of goodwill.

They're also setting the standard for what other companies should aspire to.


Christopher Beck is a sustainability consultant. Originally from Asheville, NC, he graduated with a degree from the University of South Carolina and is now pursuing a career trying to make the world a better, cleaner place.

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