SustainableBusiness, Announcing The 2006 SB20, July 2006

Ethical Markets SRI/ESG News

Huntington, New York, July 11, 2006 – announces the 2006 SB20 list – 20 Companies Changing the World (for the better!) The list is presented in the Progressive Investor newsletter, published by, which tracks stocks in this emerging marketplace. “Our goal is to create a list that showcases public companies that, over the past year, have made substantial progress toward sustainability within their business or are leading the way with a technology that can significantly contribute to a sustainable society,” says Rona Fried, Ph.D., CEO and Editor of Progressive Investor.
To choose the 20 companies that make up the list, twelve leading social/ environmental investment analysts nominated companies; and four served as judges to make the final decisions.
The SB20 isn’t a “BUY” list, but companies must be strong financially as well as being sustainability leaders to make the list. It consists of companies of all sizes and from many regions of the world.

Renewable Energy/ Energy Efficiency

Renewable energy is the hottest sustainable business sector this year; over half this year’s list consists of leaders in wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and efficiency.

We chose Conergy, REC and SunPower from the solar sector because of their unique contributions. Conergy (Germany) provides the full range of solar options: solar electricity, solar heat, solar hot water and solar air conditioning. It also can combine small scale wind and biofuels with solar, offering customers a complete renewable energy solution. REC (Norway) stands out as the most vertically integrated solar company, producing silicon, wafers, cells and modules. SunPower‘s (USA) solar panel is the most aesthetically pleasing, and the least expensive on the market.

Other companies on this year’s list that have a solar component, but are also involved in other areas, are Energy Conversion Devices, Sharp, Abengoa, Acciona and Gamesa.

Ton Rennon of Triodos Bank, summarizes the judges’ feelings about Energy Conversion Devices (USA): “For me, no company is more innovative in the renewables space. Both its solar and battery discoveries will have a huge impact on the market.”

Spain’s Abengoa and Acciona are in the process of transitioning from conventional business lines to focusing on sustainable products and services. Abengoa builds various types of solar plants, bioethanol, and desalination plants. It is the world’s second-largest bioethanol producer and a leading innovator in cellulosic biomass, currently building the world’s first commercial scale biomass plant.


is the world’s third largest wind project developer and is also a major player in solar project development, with emerging interests in biodiesel/ biomass and small hydro.

Ormat (USA) is the world leader in geothermal energy, with special strengths in energy recovery. On the wind energy side, Gamesa (Spain) , the world’s second largest turbine manufacturer, also develops wind parks and has started a solar division. It is the only profitable wind company right now.

On the Energy Efficiency/ Storage side, Maxwell Technologies, Philips Electronics and Sharp Corp. made the list this year. Maxwell (USA) is the leading company commercializing ultracapacitors, an important enabling technology that stores energy produced by wind or solar, or in hybrid vehicles for later use.

What’s new for long time sustainability leader Philips (Netherlands), is its focus on LEDs, announcing breakthrough efficiencies for white organic LEDs this year. LEDs have the potential to revolutionize lighting efficiencies.

Sharp (Japan) is the world’s largest solar manufacturer, and is also an efficiency leader, currently working to make the ever-larger, more energy consuming LCD TV – where Sharp holds a 30% share – more energy efficient and with fewer toxic toxic components. In fact, 74% of Sharp’s sales as a whole come from “Green Seal” products – a process the company developed to design products based on life cycle analysis.

Natural Resources: Water, Forests, Land Development

It’s rare to find a water company that we consider sustainable, going above and beyond just making filters and using chemicals for treatment. Austria’s BWT Water Technology fits the bill because it eliminates chemicals used in water treatment. JM, the fourth largest real estate developer in Sweden, is a model for large builders to follow: it builds on brownfields near mass transport, uses the most advanced efficiency appliances and windows, and was the first to develop a green building materials database that informs product selection. P recious Woods, the only publicly traded sustainable forestry company, is a small company based in Switzerland. It preserve forests – many of which are primary Amazon rainforests – through sustainable management, provides income to indigenous people, and re-forests degraded pastureland.

Natural Foods/ Natural Products

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (USA) and Whole Foods Market (USA) have been on our list all five years. This year, Green Mountain, through its key partnership with Newman’s Own coffee, started supplying double certified coffee – organic and fair trade – to 650 McDonald’s stores in New England. “This is the start of bringing sustainable coffee to the masses,” says Patrick McVeigh, Reynders, McVeigh Capital Management.

United Natural, the largest natural products distributor in the U.S., moved to a regional warehouse model this year, reducing transportation costs and lowering fuel use. Whole Foods Market is now the largest corporate user of renewable energy, running on 100% wind. The premier natural supermarket chain worldwide, Whole Foods incorporates sustainable practices throughout operations, and is largely responsible for organics entering the mainstream.

Pharmaceuticals & Banks

Novartis (Switzerland) joined the list this year because of the CEO’s outspoken advocacy of climate change solutions and the new Sustainable Wage Program. The company surveyed all its workers around the world last year asking whether they were being paid a living wage. Those that weren’t got immediate pay raises. Suppliers are being asked to follow suit this year.

Wainwright Bankserves the greater Boston area and notably commits 40% of its commercial loans to community development. This year, it issued the first company-specific Certificate of Deposit (CD) in the U.S. – the Equal Exchange CD. The CD provides this employee-owned pioneering Fair Trade company a line of credit which helps them expand.

Honorable Mentions

General Electric (USA) deserves an Honorable Mention this year because of its Ecomagination Initiative, and especially because of its symbolic impact on the world’s business community. When GE talks, the world listens. GE proclaimed that green products make green (money) and that’s the direction the company’s going in. “GE has made an incredibly meaningful contribution in the move toward sustainable business practices this year,” says Matt Patsky.

HSBC (UK) received an honorable mention for being the first major bank to commit to being climate neutral, and more significantly, for making the most progress in implementing the Equator Principles (sustainable guidelines for financing decisions). Out of all the banks, it has developed the most sector policies, covering forests, dams and chemicals – essential for putting the Principles into practices.

ITM Power (UK) is developing a technology that could put it on course to being a huge energy player. Vehicles that incorporate its technology can run on hydrogen – from renewable energy sources – for the current price of petroleum. It could well go on the list once it makes significant sales.

The SB20 List for 2006 – Alphabetical Order

Abengoa SA (Madrid: ABG.MC)
Acciona (Madrid: ANA.MC)
Best Water Technology (Vienna: BWT.VI)
Conergy (Frankfort: CGY.F)
Energy Conversion Devices (Nasdaq: ENER)
Gamesa Corporation Technologica (Madrid: GAM.MC)
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR)
Interface (Nasdaq: IFSIA)
JM Inc. (JM.ST)
Maxwell Technologies (Nasdaq: MXWL)
Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS)
Ormat Technologies (NYSE: ORA)
Philips Electronics NV (NYSE: PHG)
Precious Woods (Geneva: SWX: PRWN)
Renewable Energy Corp (Oslo: REC.OL)
Sharp Corp. (Tokyo: 6753)
SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWR)
United Natural (Nasdaq: UNFI)
Wainwright Bank (Nasdaq: WAIN)
Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFMI)

Honorable Mention:

General Electric (NYSE: GE)
ITM Power (AIM: ITM.L)

The SB20 Judges:

Matt Patsky, Managing Director, Winslow Green Growth Fund
Patrick McVeigh, President, Reynders, McVeigh Capital Management
Max Deml, Editor & Publisher, Oeko Invest Publishing Ltd
Ton Rennen, Senior Sustainability Analyst, Triodos Bank NV

About Progressive Investor

Progressive Investor is a monthly sustainable investing newsletter that provides on-going analysis of clean technology investment opportunities: renewable energy, green building, organics and more.

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