Ranked the world's most responsible major company by monitoring group AccountAbility, Vodafone is excelling with socially useful yet profitable services. Since inception in March, a money-transfer-by-text service in Kenya where many phone owners don't have bank accounts has attracted 500,000 users.
The German household-goods firm is top in its class worldwide on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. Henkel's CSR program allows employees paid time off for volunteering a move many believe helps staff recruitment and retention.
The automaker is improving fuel efficiency and safety features in vehicles, has provided road-safety seminars to over 400,000 people in Japan, and recently distributed 300,000 safe-driving manuals in China.
A leader in green tech, the petroleum giant's Alternative Energy unit runs solar projects in Malaysia and Germany, and wind farms in Holland. It also has ambitious programs to develop hydrogen power and advanced biofuels.
In recent years, HSBC has been a leader in environmental initiatives. But a cornerstone of the bank's community work beginning in the 1870s has been education. It currently donates computers and books to schools and funds financial literacy classes.
While often criticized by labor activists, the retailer pledges zero net waste by 2025. Wal-Mart encourages recyclable and biodegradable packaging, and uses its formidable clout to coax suppliers into making smaller boxes, thereby cutting transport and materials costs.
Winner of a European Commission sustainable energy award in February, Sony has just rolled out a national consumer-electronics recycling program in the U.S.; the number of electronics drop-off sites, now 75, will double within a year.
Procter & Gamble
In 31/2 years, P&G's not-for-profit safe drinking water project has delivered 70 million sachets of PUR, a powder to purify even the foulest water. P&G estimates PUR has averted 29 million days of diarrhea, saving more than 3,800 lives.