FRESNO, Calif.– In its latest rankings of companies that “Change the World,” Fortune magazine recognized Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd for “doing well by doing good.” Jain ranked number 7 after Vodafone and Safaricom, Google, Toyota, Walmart, Enel Utilities and GSK, while being ahead of other great companies such as Cisco, Facebook, Mastercard, Starbucks, Nike, Ford Motor, Unilever and IBM.
Fortune’s “Change the World” list is meant to shine a spotlight on companies that have made significant progress in addressing major social problems as a part of their core business strategy. It is based on the belief that capitalism should not just be tolerated but celebrated for its power to do good. At a time when governments are flailing, its powers are needed more than ever.
The companies chosen have a sizeable impact on major global social or environmental problems as part of their competitive strategy. In its evaluation, Fortune considered four criteria: the degree of business innovation involved, the measurable impact at scale on an important social challenge, the contribution of the shared-value activities to the company’s profitability and competitive advantage and the significance of the shared value effort to the overall business.
Fortune highlights “Jain has built its business by improving the livelihoods of 5 million small farmers in India. Based in the country’s western Maharashtra state, Jain began selling micro-irrigation systems in 1986, when it recognized that the technology, commonly used in industrial agriculture, could be adapted for local growers, whose tiny landholdings were traditionally watered by rain or blunt flooding techniques. As Jain’s “More Crop Per Drop” slogan promised, yields increased dramatically—50 percent to 300 percent, depending on the plant—as did farmers’ incomes. Jain continues to boost both in other ways as well: It has introduced more-viable crop varieties and trained farmers on more productive growing techniques, such as high-density planting for mangoes.
The company also branched into solar water pumps (electricity is often scarce on the farm), financing, and food processing—for the likes of Coca-Cola and Uniliever—so that there is a ready market for these farmers’ wares. The company, the world’s second-largest seller of drip-irrigation systems, now does business in 116 countries.”