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. The metrics are Sales, Profits, Shareholder Returns, Quality of Workplace, and Carbon Footprint. Data for Sales, Profit, and Shareholder Returns are measured over the last 12 months, and Employee Satisfaction and Carbon footprint are as of the most recently available data.. The list will be limited to the S&P 500 as data on these companies are most readily available.


Big-box retailer Wal-Mart (WMT) brought in $521 billion in the past 12 months, the most of any company in the S&P 500.


Electronics firm Apple (AAPL) has earned $55.3 billion in net income over the past 12-months, more than any company in the S&P 500.

1-Year Trailing AMD Returns

Shareholder Returns

Semiconductor manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has a 1-year trailing return of 87.9%, a higher return for investors than any other S&P 500 company.

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 2019. The survey, done by analytics firm, Great Place to Work, surveyed 4.3 million employees with more that 60 survey questions about their workplace.

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.