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Top Green Companies of 2012

January 3, 2013 | 2 comments

Comparing environmental footprints, LEED ratings, and green innovation, we’ve compiled a short list of companies that stood out in 2012 for their dedication to sustainable practices.

 Take a look through this list of top green companies to find out why they’re featured and what strategies they’ve implemented to successfully cut water and energy use.


IBM has conserved more than 5.4 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, saving $400 million since 1990. The company relies heavily on technology to reach sustainability goals; it believes that collecting, analyzing, and sorting building data quickly is critical to energy and performance optimization, so IBM uses sensor points and integrated software to investigate and improve facilities operations. This data has led the company to another 8-percent increase in energy savings, along with improvements to insulation and roofing materials. IBM also makes use of unique green practices when possible. At its Zurich lab, for example, water that cools a supercomputer is also used to warm nearby buildings.

Office Depot

Office Depot publicly established its commitment to sustainability in 2008. Since then, the company has reduced its waste costs by more than $1 million, slashed electricity costs by more than $15 million per year, and reduced its carbon footprint by more than 11 percent. Office Depot has more than 656 million square feet of facilities certified under LEED; this achievement helps Office Depot lower the environmental impact of its buildings, but the company says it also offers a major return on investment. Office Depot’s greenest distribution center features fixtures that reduce water consumption by 40%, occupancy sensors that reduce power usage to 20% below typical rates, and fans that circulate air more efficiently than air-conditioners.


In 2007, Citigroup announced its intention to finance, invest, and mobilize $50 billion over 10 years to address global climate change. The company has continued to make impressive strides when it comes to green buildings. With 260 LEED-certified projects, Citigroup makes it a point to purchase green energy. The organization is listed as part of the Top 50 green power purchasers in the United States, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It also includes green language in its leases, implemented an e-waste recycling program with a zero-landfill policy, and instituted desktop standardization. Through hardware upgrades and power management solutions, Citigroup expects to see a 3-percent reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions as a result of this change.


Google recently announced a $75 million equity investment in a 50-megawatt Iowa wind farm, which pushed the company’s total renewable energy investments to more than $990 million. Its data centers are designed to use as little energy as possible, consuming 50-percent less energy than a typical data center by relying on smart temperature controls, using outside air or reused water for cooling, etc. Google also recycles 100 percent of the electronic equipment that leaves its data centers.


Are there any companies missing from this list? Which organizations would you recognize for their outstanding commitment to green practices in 2012?


  1. David Godfrey
    January 7, 2013

    This is good. Do you have a similar list for governmental agencies, especially state/local governments?

  2. Vista
    January 24, 2014

    We don’t, David, but that’s a great idea for a future blog post!

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