Welcome to the New Green Giants

At Sustainable Brands 2016, 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.

Their achievement was one many had thought couldn’t be done, and the question I’ve been asked a lot since then is: yes, but aren’t these companies really Green Unicorns, rare beasts, the exceptions that prove the rule?

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 Sustainable Brands in 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% of the company’s brands are organic and its products are more than 99% GMO-free.
  1. REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.), 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.
  2. Target’s Made to Matter, 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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!

You can buy the book here:

You can download the leaflet on the New Green Giants here [download pdf]

About Freya Williams: Freya Williams is the CEO of Futerra North America and author of Green Giants: How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability into Billion Dollar Businesses. Freya has spent the past decade working to help move sustainable business, behaviors and brands into the mainstream. Co-founder of OgilvyEarth and former lead of Edelman’s Business + Social Purpose practice in New York, Freya had advised organizations including Coca Cola, H&M, Unilever, the United Nations, Estee Lauder, Waste Management and many others on how to convert sustainability and social good into competitive advantage for their business and brands. A Sustainable Brands regular over the past decade, she published her first book Green Giants: How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability into Billion Dollar Businesses in 2015.

About Futerra:  Futerra isn’t just a logical sustainability consultancy, or a magical creative agency; we are both. We work with people who believe they can turn the sustainability imperative into the greatest entrepreneurial opportunity for a generation. Our clients are building brands that are symbols of positive change. They are unleashing progress that has purpose. Our mantra is “Imagine Better. Make it Happen.”



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