Dyson introduced its Air Multiplier, a bladeless fan that pushes air in a smooth, even cycle and uses 98% less power than a standard air conditioner, as well a handheld vacuum cleaner running on the “fastest motor in the world,” 10 times faster than the engine of a Boeing 747 and twice as energy-efficient as motors in Dyson’s other vacs.
The culturally clued-in sports brand turned customers into designers with its customizable Converse All Stars, Hurley board shorts, and Nike Pegasus running shoes. Nike also cofounded (with Yahoo, Best Buy, and others) an open-source Web site that shares green technologies from the founders’ R&D labs with other manufacturers and entrepreneurs. Top 50: No. 13
3. Spin Master
The toymaker’s famous Bakugan line took home Toy of the Year at 2009’s Toy Industry Association’s awards and now includes an animated television show on the Cartoon Network, a massive multiplayer online game to be launched later this year, and a Universal feature film to be released in 2011. Spin Master — whose new Liv dolls were a hit during the holiday shopping season — is now the third-largest toy company in North America.
4. SC Johnson
The family-owned manufacturer of household products met its greenhouse-gas-emission-reduction goals sooner than planned, cutting emissions by 27% at its factories worldwide over the past eight years, 17% since 2005. At a factory in the Netherlands, the company built its first windmill; it will supply 66% of the plant’s energy.
Whirlpool will make 1 million “smart” dryers by the end of 2011. Smart Energy dryers will respond to peak-energy prices by lowering power consumption, saving money for homeowners and easing stress on the electric grid. By 2015, according to Whirlpool, all of its products will be compatible with the smart grid.
By partnering with giant Reliance Industries, the boot maker gained access to the huge Indian market. Timberland also continued its earth-conscious practices by using discarded tire rubber to make more than 200,000 pairs of boots. Innovation All Stars
7. Procter & Gamble
The consumer-products colossus is trying to build two of its famous household brands into retail chains. After testing a handful of P&G-operated Tide-branded dry cleaners and Mr. Clean Car Washes, the company made its first move into the car-wash franchise business in 2009 with the acquisition of Carnett’s Car Wash. Innovation All Stars
The snack company set a goal that, by 2011, all of its 32 factories will be “zero landfill” — a goal one-third of its plants have already reached. The effort ranges from biomass boilers and photovoltaics to recycling potato peelings as animal feed and reducing packaging. Top 50: No. 28
9. Lemnis Lighting
The Dutch company developed the Pharox, an LED bulb that matches the familiar light of incandescents but uses up to 90% less energy. Last year, Google distributed 25,000 Pharox bulbs to staff members around the world as part of its Going Green at Google initiative; the Clinton Climate Initiative endorsed the company as a leading provider of LED lights that can replace standard household bulbs; the Dutch Nationale Postcode Lottery sponsored a giveaway of 2.5 million of them in Europe; and Lemnis Lighting was a World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneer.
10. Seventh Generation
The Burlington, Vermont-based green-cleaning-products company has been preaching the eco-friendly gospel for more than 20 years. This year, the company opened a new LEED Gold-certified office, brought in a former PepsiCo exec as CEO, and launched its first national advertising campaign. Oh, and in a down economy, sales were up 20%, to more than $150 million. How’s that for making some green?