9 sustainable firms join the billion-dollar club

Here’s a piece of good news that’s flown under the radar: sustainability-oriented companies are rapidly becoming mainstream leaders of the corporate world.  Nine companies have crossed the billion-dollars-a-year threshold in annual revenues, and several more are not far behind.  E. Freya Williams, whose recently-released book Green Giants looks at the traits and qualities that these companies share, proclaims that sustainability-driven firms are no longer “going up against with the big boys. They are the big boys.”  And not surprisingly, they’ve been performing like gangbusters: according to a recent Huffington piece on Williams’ book, “If you had put $1,000 into these nine companies in June 2010, your investments would by March of this year have been valued at $3,251, compared with $1,932 for a portfolio of more traditional competitors.”  Read Williams’ overview of the Big 9 in Fortune; they include Chipotle and Whole Foods, along with Tesla and Prius, Nike’s new Flyknit shoes, and GE’s Ecomagination program.  For an audio interview, check out the Aug 26 show on GreenDivas.

All this is confirmation that there’s an increasing momentum toward social and ecological rebalancing within the system-as-is; this will give heart to resilient investors who’ve staked their position as Dealers, who are “dealing with” our challenges by making purchasing and investing choices that support companies that are leading the corporate shift to doing the right thing.  This is our Muddle-Through Up scenario, one that doesn’t have the dazzle of Breakthrough or the pathos (and fatalistic romance) of the potential for Breakdown—both of which are distinct possibilities.  The truth is that most resilient investors, even those who harbor Dreamer or Doomer tendencies, remain significantly invested in the global economy through SRI holdings, and so are in practice still banking on a Muddle-Through Up future.  So chalk up these billion-dollar companies as early indicators that our Sustainable Global Economy strategy may indeed pan out at the scale that it surely needs to in order to work with the other two resilient investing strategies (Close to Home, Evolutionary) to create that better, more resilient world we all seek.


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