In 2023, Apple (AAPL) ranked first in the Clean 200 ranking by non-profit shareholder activist As You Sow and research firm Corporate Knights, which analyzed the revenue each company earned from sustainable products and services.
The report found that Apple earned $259 billion in sustainable revenue and that an estimated 71% of the company’s revenue came from sustainable sources. Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE.DE), Verizon Communications (VZ), and Tesla (TSLA) followed in the ranking.
The Clean 200 list expanded in 2016 to include companies that meet various sustainability certifications. The list excludes companies involved in controversial business practices such as investments in fossil fuels, weapons, and prisons, or those “having a record of systemically obstructing climate policy.”
The Clean 200 list included companies from 35 countries, with most of the companies located in the United States, China, and Japan. Except for energy, the list had broad sector representation, including information technology, materials, and utility companies.
Apple has made strides in using recycled materials and rare earth minerals in its products, with the company’s sustainable revenue primarily coming from the sale of iPhones, iPads, and Macs.
Google and Tesla have also made significant progress in increasing sustainability in their respective sectors. Google’s clean revenue is derived mainly from advertising on Google Maps, which features tools aimed at reducing carbon emissions, and cloud services powered by renewable energy. Tesla, a pioneer in electric vehicle adoption, has underperformed in some ESG metrics such as taxes paid and labor controversies but offers excellent EV products.
Despite significant progress towards sustainability, Apple has faced criticisms of not offering sustainably-sourced products at scale. The company has come under pressure from consumers and governments for not making it easy to repair its devices, leading to shorter life cycles for its electronics. Apple has thrown its weight against state right-to-repair laws, including a law passed in New York in 2022.
As You Sow CEO Andrew Behar told Yahoo Finance that major companies worldwide will soon earn significant revenue from the global transformation towards sustainability. The Clean 200 ranking represents companies leading the way in sustainability, putting the planet and sustainable business models at the heart of their operations.