Portfolio 21's Top 10 Green Companies list is out. Portfolio 21 is a mutual fund that invests in companies specializing in renewable energy, developing efficient production methods and recognize environmental sustainability as a business opportunity. Their investments total approximately $323 million in 105 companies across 20 countries. Need I illustrate the importance of their rankings any further?
And especially if you are an entrepreneur with a sustainable product or efficiency streamlining idea, the companies that make the Top 10 will give you a unique peek into what is attracting investors' attention and what direction environmental sustainability as an industry is headed.
So who made this list based on the companies' environmental performance characteristics? Three U.S.-based companies, that's who. My trouble is not with Europe taking the lead in sustainability and environmental opportunities as business prospects. My trouble is the dearth of American companies taking the entrepreneurial challenge of creating and marketing their environmentally-sound products. I realize a foundational requirement is investment, and that is why, all you people out there with great green ideas but no cash, should research this top 10 list and see where you can fit in. Without further editorialization, here are the three U.S. companies that made it to the list:
Autodesk: A company that specializes in designing two- and three-dimensional design software and has been able to inculcate sustainable practices in its business model. Want to know more about the company? See Vault.com's take on their products, their work/life culture and exclusive employee surveys on salaries, diversity, interview tips, and much more.
Itron: An energy management company, Itron focuses on providing metering, data collection and software solutions to utilities. Read about their company culture, work benefits, personnel progression and more.
Potlatch: Potlatch is a Spokane, Wash.-based integrated forest products company, which was recently recognized for achieving the Forest Stewardship Certification for all of its forests.
Not surprisingly, these three companies represent niche markets and provide a diverse range of services between them. However, two of the three--Autodesk and Itron--don't fit into the traditionally thought of industry of environmental work. Succinctly, here is the gist: If you are looking for a "green" career, you don't have to follow the route of an ecological nonprofit or private sector company working in agriculture, conservation of land and/or land erosion. There are opportunities in all industries, including technology, energy management, finance, etc. to make environmental sustainability part of their long term strategy. It starts from giving it appropriate thought and attention. And the same goes for start-ups and MBA graduates with a great idea/product and looking for investment. Make it niche, make it sustainable.
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