Fortune Magazine Highlights 50 Companies Changing the World

September 21, 2020 by Sara Wilkerson

Fortune Magazine announced its annual “Changing the World” list of 50 companies that have tackled society’s most pressing needs and have made a positive and innovative social impact on the world. The 2020 “Changing the World” list marks Fortune’s sixth iteration of the annual list. 

According to Fortune’s introduction of this year’s list, those featured are highlighted based on their collaboration with other companies. 

Highlighted at the top of Fortune’s list is “The Vaccine Makers”, a title covering companies like big pharma company AstraZeneca, which has led the world in bringing a COVID-19 vaccine from lab to human trial thanks to its partnership with the University of Oxford. 

Besides AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford partnership, Fortune also noted how rival companies Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have partnered in their pursuit of a coronavirus vaccine. Additionally, Fortune highlighted how Germany’s BioNTech has multiple partnerships with the likes of Pfizer Inc. from New York and Fosun Pharma from Shanghai. 

In speaking on the collaborative efforts among vaccine makers around the world, Giovanni Caforio, chairman and chief executive officer of Bristol Myers Squibb, told Fortune, “I have never seen the level of collaboration that’s going on today … So how do we take what we’ve learned in the last six months and apply it to cancer?” 

Vaccine game changers such as Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and the Serum Institute of India (SII), were also a part of the top 10 list, ranking eighth and tenth respectively. 

“For a sector that has long been at or near the bottom of public opinion ratings […] the COVID crisis has provided an opportunity for redemption. And many knowledgeable observers say the industry has grabbed it. Perhaps the most unexpected aspect to that response has been the sector’s wholehearted embrace of collaboration,” said Clifton Leaf, Fortune’s editor-in-chief of the vaccine makers.

Besides the vaccine makers, Fortune also highlighted companies such as PayPal and Walmart, who have been instrumental in providing support for others since the start of the pandemic. 

PayPal, ranking third on Fortune’s list, was included in the top 10 for its efforts of preserving all of its employees’ jobs at the start of the pandemic. Additionally, PayPal removed its 1% service fee in order to help Americans who needed to receive their government stimulus payments in a timely fashion. 

“If you put your employees first and you put your customers first, then nobody forgets that, and you come out of this in a really strong position,” said PayPal CEO Dan Schulman. 

According to Fortune, as a result of PayPal’s efforts, the company reported its strongest quarter yet as of its July report and currently holds $1.5 billion in profit. 

Much like PayPal, Walmart, ranking ninth on the list, also managed to help stimulus check recipients receive their payments by waiving the maintenance fees on its MoneyCard prepaid debit cards. The action allowed for $435 million of stimulus check payouts to be made. 

Additionally, Walmart has been instrumental in helping restaurant workers keep a steady paycheck by hiring nearly 500,000 workers in collaboration with the National Restaurant Association. 

Fortune Magazine highlighted financial institutions such as Mastercard and Bank of America, ranking 14 and 15 respectively, in their efforts to help individuals and businesses domestically and abroad. 

Companies such as Zoom and Pearson were also among the 50 companies listed by Fortune. 

Zoom, ranking sixth on the list, has been instrumental in helping schools around the world transition to online teaching thanks to its removal of a time limit on free calls for those with an account linked to an educational institution. 

Pearson, ranking 28, also aided virtual learning through its Connection Academy platform, where the company raised nearly $450 million to help better serve students of lower income and those with learning disabilities. 

To see who else made the top 50 list for this year’s best companies who made a difference in the world, check out Fortune’s entire list

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