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SustainableBusiness.com yesterday announced its 2008 Sustainable Business 20 (SB20) List: The World's Top Sustainable Stocks.

The SB20 list, in its seventh year, consists of 20 public companies that are leading the way to a sustainable society. The list is presented in the Progressive Investor newsletter, published by SustainableBusiness.com, which tracks sustainable stocks.

To choose the 20 companies, SustainableBusiness.com works with a group of judges, who are among the most respected social/green stock analysts in the world.

"Our goal is to create a list that showcases public companies that, over the past year, have made substantial progress in either greening their internal operations or growing a business based on an important green technology, says Rona Fried, Ph.D., SustainableBusiness.com CEO and Editor of Progressive Investor.

What differentiates the SB20 List from the many others? You'll find small companies as well as the usual large ones--and from most regions of the world, not just the USA. The selections are made from deep knowledge and experience, not numerical formulas. We applaud this approach!

Highlights from this year's list include:

Green Building

Even in the toughest construction market we've seen in a long time, green building companies are holding their own. Apogee (NASDAQ:APOG) is a leading manufacturer of efficient glass, which coats some of the highest profile green buildings, such as the Bank of America tower currently under construction in New York City.

Accsys Technology (OTC:ACSYF) is a small company based in England that's developed a unique technology--it gives softwood trees the durability and quality of hardwoods. If we could use softwoods to make windows, doors and furniture it would greatly relieve the stress on the world's primary forests.

Interface Inc. (IFSIA) is finally benefiting from its steep climb up "Mount Sustainability"--its innovations in carpet tiles are bearing fruit. The first quarter of 2008 was its best ever.

Renewable Energy

Over a third of the companies on this year's list produce clean energy in solar, wind and geothermal. First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) continues to dominate in thin film solar, producing the highest efficiency, lowest cost modules in the industry by far - no small feat.

Solar Millennium, based in Germany, is building the world's largest solar thermal plants--the first solar utility.

India-based Suzlon graces our list because of its rapid ascent in the wind industry--with a 10.5% market share in 2007.

England-based Climate Exchange Plc (OTC:CXCHF) is our first company from a brand new industry--Carbon Markets.

Corporate Pioneers

About half the SB20 List are "Corporate Pioneers"--companies with conventional products and services that are greening their product lines.

Over the past year, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has become as admired in sustainability circles as for their endless innovation in the Search Engine business. Their extensive server farms operate at an unheard of 90% efficiency, which they're working to extend throughout the industry, and they're investing hundreds of millions of dollars in clean energy technologies.

IBM (NYSE:IBM) is greening its own and customers' data centers, which can be 100 times as energy intensive as the average office building. They're designing technologies to cut energy use by half by 2010, while increasing computer capacity by a factor of 10.

Meanwhile, TNT is setting the trend for its industry--the postal and express mail company, which is based in the Netherlands and competes with FedEx and UPS, has committed to becoming the first zero emissions transportation company.

Natura Cosmeticos is doing the same in the personal care industry--it completely banned animal testing in products or suppliers' ingredients.

And Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) is proving that fast food can be healthy and come completely from humane, organic farms. Its 730 restaurants now serve 100% free range pork and chicken.

The 2008 SB20 List

  • Accsys Technologies Plc
  • Apogee Enterprises, Inc.
  • Asahi Pretec
  • Canadian Hydro Developers, Inc.
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill
  • Climate Exchange plc
  • First Solar
  • Google, Inc.
  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE:HPQ)
  • IBM
  • Interface
  • Lindsay Corporation (NYSE:LNN)
  • Natura Cosmeticos SA
  • Ormat Technologies (NYSE:ORA)
  • Philips Electronics (NYSE:PHG)
  • Solar Millennium AG
  • Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS)
  • Suzlon Energy Ltd.
  • TNT N.V.
  • WaterFurnace Renewable Energy
Source: 20 Top Sustainable Stocks