What Companies are the “Best of” Green?

‘tis the season for “year in review” and “best of 2007” articles, which has me thinking about the many green and socially responsible businesses that have been launched in the past few years and which ones could be called out for being the best. I wouldn’t know where to begin. There are organic lotions whose lavender or vanilla scents I like best, but to focus on such personal taste would be a “favorites” list not really a best list. Best could mean most popular—the businesses with the best traction and most customers. Best could be evaluated on a scale of how truly sustainable and environmentally correct a business is, which I wouldn’t be qualified to evaluate.

So, it was interesting to open up the New York Times magazine this morning to see an article about S. Prakash Sethi, the founder of the International Center for Corporate Accountability, a consulting firm he founded to evaluate companies such as Mattel on their social responsibility. He, at least, is able to go inside companies to see what their operations are like. Mattel invites him in. Mattel’s lead-paint-in-toys problems not withstanding, it does encourage me that there is a move toward monitoring all aspects of a company’s operations, including sourcing.

I am hoping that they trend toward transparency doesn’t just continue but accelerates.

I really like a line in the Sethi article, “…there’s no reason, [Stethi] says, why companies shouldn’t compete in the field of ethics as they do in everything else.” If companies wear there ethics on their sleeves, and there are checks in place to make sure that companies are following their stated ethics, the market can reward the companies that follow sustainable business practices.

The Market. That’s us. There are many more options these days for goods that are produced with an environmental consciousness. However, many of those companies are smaller and newer, and most of The Market doesn’t know these companies exist. If there are companies whose ethics you like, spread the word. Tell at least one other person, and preferably one other online community, about a great product you have discovered.

Here are some of the products I love:

Although I acknowledge that a vegan diet would be more truly green, I am not a vegan and consider Cow Girl Creamery to be a wonderful green company. Since I have not ordered their cheeses online, I can’t evaluate all of their packaging, but for a product that can be bought locally, it’s both delicious and non-plastic-covered.

In a past post, I mentioned Nau, which I love for its stylish clothes made from sustainably produced and recycled-material fabrics.

Which products and companies do you want more people to know about?

And don’t forget that our sister site, Planet Save, has a gift guide of green(er) products.

About the Author

A strategy and marketing consultant, Leah enjoys highlighting the efforts of, and providing information for, social entrepreneurs. In her consulting practice, she works with cause-related businesses and enlightened investors--to see people succeed at doing good for the planet and local communities while doing good for themselves. Leah has a B.S. in business from UC Berkeley and an MBA and Certificate of Public Management from Stanford University. More information at www.leahedwards.com