Because there are many ways to measure a company's success, here are the most successful companies in the U.S. as measured by five different metrics.

Key Takeaways

  • The metrics used here are sales, profits, shareholder returns, quality of the workplace, and carbon footprint.
  • Data for sales, profits, and shareholder returns are measured over the last 12 months.
  • Employee satisfaction and carbon footprint use the most recently available data.
  • The list will be limited to the S&P 500 as data on these companies are most readily available.

By Sales

Big-box retailer Walmart (WMT) brought in $562.8 billion in the past 12 months, the most of any company in the S&P 500.

By Profits

Consumer technology giant Apple (AAPL) has earned $76.3 billion in net income over the past 12-months, more than any company in the S&P 500.

By Shareholder Returns

Oil and gas producer Marathon Oil (MRO) has a 1-year trailing return of 158%, a higher return for investors than any other S&P 500 company.

By Employee Satisfaction

Hilton Worldwide Holdings (HLT) was rated the best place to work in Fortune Magazine's "100 Best Companys To Work For" survey of 2020.

The survey, done by analytics firm, Great Place to Work, surveyed 4.1 million employees with more than 60 survey questions about their workplace.

By Carbon Footprint

Apple has the lowest ratio of greenhouse gas emissions to revenue generated of any company in the S&P 500. Apple emits 120.5 tons of carbon dioxide for every million dollars in revenue it makes.

This includes not only direct emissions by the company and indirect emissions from energy usage, but the whole array of emissions upstream and downstream from the company including raw materials, transportation of goods, and disposal costs of products.

For more on the methodology used in the emissions measured, look here.