Fortune’s 2020 Change the World List included 28 companies from the US and Canada, 10 from Asia and the Middle East, 8 from Europe, and 3 each from Africa and Latin America that have significant socio-economic impacts around the world.
2020 is a year like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the world in massive proportions, creating a lasting impact on people, governments, and enterprises across industries. It has put a screeching halt to travel, challenged education systems, and created an irreversible dent in world trade.
But every cloud has a silver lining. Over a year into the pandemic, organizations across industries have collaborated, innovated, and implemented solutions that would enable people to live and adapt with ease into the post-pandemic world
In this article, we look into some of the new American game-changers that made it to Fortune’s Change the World List. The list recognizes outstanding companies that incorporate positive social initiatitives in their core business strategy. For prospective students exploring the option to study in the US, the list might be of considerable help in envisioning their future careers in companies that reflect their values and aspirations.
Fortune explained: “Collaboration among companies, even among rivals, is a common thread, from the effort to make “green” steel, to the campaign to close America’s racial wealth gap, and, above all, in the race for a COVID-19 vaccine. As we face unprecedented collective challenges—a global pandemic, climate change, profound income inequality cooperation has become a business superpower. “
Unknown to many, Alphabet Inc. is the parent company of Google and its other subsidiaries. Google, which also is now commonly used as a verb that translates to searching the web, is the company’s flagship product that leverages Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance Google searches, deliver accurate Google Translate, and make Google Assistant smarter. Moreover, Google’s Flood Forecasting initiative that harnesses the power of AI saves lives. The AI-powered platform generates hyper-local forecasts of rising water levels, alerting over 200 million people of potential lethal floods across India. It sends out alerts up to 48 hours of advance warning. Since 2017, Google’s Flood Forecasting project has issued 27 million alerts and has now extended the system to Bangladesh, where flooding takes 5,000 lives every year.
Paypal Holdings Inc.
Paypal, known for its online payment system, committed to secure its employees’ jobs from COVID-19 related cuts. From spending millions of dollars to raise its workers’ wages and lower the costs of their benefits, the company also cushioned the pandemic impact on its clients’ finance security by waiving the 1% fees it usually charges.
In June, world-renowned education and testing company Pearson issued a social bond that raised about $450 million to finance more learning services including GED testing, virtual schooling program, and Connections Academy for people in need. Furthermore, the bond is funding the training for the BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) vocational qualification certificate that has been extended to Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and other African countries.
2020 is the year when 5G had received more traction more than ever expected to transform people’s lives and business operations. Qualcomm, a multinational electrical company that specializes in telecommunications, provides chips central to the infrastructure of the ultrafast wireless networks 5G. Some of the breakthrough social impacts of 5G are foreseen in trial projects such as fatality-reducing “smart traffic” control and targeted agriculture that uses far less water and fertilizers.
During the height of the pandemic, cloud-based software giant Salesforce launched two vital tool kits essential focused on navigating the challenges of today. Work.com has helped thousands of companies and schools manage scheduling, employee wellness assessments, and emergency responses as they reopen. Salesforce’s Tableau subsidiary has provided data visualization technology for contact tracing that helped curb outbreaks.
Zoom Video Communications, Inc.
Video-conferencing app Zoom’s popularity exploded in 2020 as social-distancing restrictions and lockdowns almost made face-to-face interaction impossible. What used to be a platform for business meetings has now been the go-to tool for communications, from attending online classes to hosting parties. In March, Zoom lifted the time limit on free calls for K-12 educators. Over 100,000 schools in 25 countries have been using the platform since then.