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WEF Names 16 Emerging Economy Sustainability Champions

Natura, Suzlon and Woolworths are among 16 fast-growing companies from the emerging markets that also shine in terms of their sustainability initiatives, according to a World Economic Forum report produced with The Boston Consulting Group.

The report, titled “Redefining the Future of Growth: The New Sustainability Champions,” analyzed more than 1,000 companies—from around the world and in a wide variety of industries—on the basis of criteria that gauge sustainability, innovation, and scalability.

All of the 16 fast-growth sustainable organizations (see chart) have revenues under $5 billion, and share a mindset and set of practices. Based in nations as diverse as Costa Rica, Egypt, and South Africa, the companies all aim to proactively turn constraints, such as their location or economic situation, into opportunities through innovation. They embed sustainability in their company culture and work to shape their own business environments, according to the report.

China’s Broad Group is highlighted in the report as one of its champions. The firm is one of the world’s leading producers of non-electric air-conditioning equipment and has cornered 50 percent of the Chinese market for energy-efficient air conditioning, according to the report.

Its cooler units use an innovative natural gas system to boil a lithium bromide solution to create cooling. The company states that these units are twice as efficient as conventional electric air conditioners.

In an effort to embed sustainability throughout its workforce, 1,200 of its 2,000 employees live in free accommodation on a campus called Broad Town, where much of their food is garnered from the town’s own organic farm.

The first ZeroHouse 2.0 model homes include solar power systems and building techniques and features that enhance efficiency well beyond KB Home’s ENERGY STAR qualified standard. These homes will open later this week in Tampa, San Antonio and Austin. Much more than just a concept home, homebuyers in these markets will now be able to incorporate ZeroHouse 2.0 energy efficiency options into their home at the KB Home Studio. The national rollout of ZeroHouse 2.0 to more KB Home communities will continue through 2012.

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