NEW YORK, N.Y. — Topping the list of BusinessWeek's ranking of "The Top Green Companies" is an experienced hand at making the most out of changing regulations, DuPont. Back in the mid-1980s, DuPont created a profitable business selling substitutes for chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants that were destroying the earth's protective ozone layer. Tackling climate change "was a natural extension of this experience," explained environmental manager Mack McFarland. DuPont has reduced energy consumption 7% below 1990 levels, saving more than $2 billion-including at least $10 million per year by using renewable resources.

The world is changing faster than anyone expected. Not only is the Earth warming, bringing more intense storms and causing Artic ice to vanish, but the political and policy landscape is being transformed even more dramatically. Already, certain industries are facing mandatory limits on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in some of the 129 countries that have signed the Kyoto Protocol.

A surprising number of companies in old industries such as oil and materials as well as high-tech are preparing for this profoundly altered world. They are moving swiftly to measure and slash their greenhouse gas emissions. And they are doing it despite the Bush Administration's opposition to mandatory curbs. As the debate over climate change shifts from scientific data to business-speak such as "efficiency investment" and "material risk," CEOs are suddenly understanding why climate change is important. Far from breaking the bank, cutting energy use and greenhouse emissions can actually fatten the bottom line and create new business opportunities, while simultaneously greening up companies' reputations.

To publish the special report "The Top Green Companies," BusinessWeek teamed up with the Climate Group, a British organization that serves as a clearing house for information on carbon reduction, and Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, the leading Wall Street green investment research firm.

Together with a panel of expert judges drawn from academic institutions, BusinessWeek has identified and ranked the companies that have shown the greatest leadership in cutting their gas emissions. "The Top Green Companies" is featured in BusinessWeek's Dec. 12, 2005, issue (on newsstands now) and also includes best practices, effective policies, and what kinds of results to expect. The full report, plus details about how the judges made their selections and individuals in the rankings can be found at BusinessWeek Online.

BusinessWeek's Top Green Companies are:
  • DuPont (U.S.)
  • BP (Britain)
  • Bayer (Germany)
  • BT (Britain)
  • Alcoa (U.S.)
BusinessWeek, the Climate Group, and a panel of judges compiled this ranking, based on companies' total reduction of greenhouse gases, results relative to their size, and the leadership they have shown.