PEOPLE's list of 6 companies caring for the environment and the world

Can a company do well and do good? The 50 firms on PEOPLE’s first annual Companies That Care list do just that. In partnership with the research firm Great Place to Work, we surveyed workers at nearly 1,000 companies across the U.S. With charitable giving, community outreach and some m

ery creative perks, these firms prove you can make a profit and make the world a better place.

The following is a list of 6 companies caring for the environment and the world.

SAS employees volunteer to raise money for the education-focused local station, UNC-TV.

SAS: The software firm’s 900-acre campus in Cary, N.C., could be described as an oasis. It includes 600 undeveloped acres with landscaping and walking trails, along with paintings, sculptures, pottery and photography to enhance the atmosphere inside.

The benefits are also unique. Not only are employees given unlimited sick time, they also have unlimited days to take care of ailing family members. When one worker’s mother passed away, she returned to work and was greeted with “open arms and open hearts,” she says. “Where else can you work and be reassured you did the right thing by ensuring your mother’s last months were happy?”

REI employee Jamie McNeilly, John Ferguson and daughter Rhiannon are pictured during a “Yay Day” wedding.
| Credit: REI

Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI): The outdoor equipment retailer, which is also the country’s largest consumer cooperative, promotes the love of nature in many different ways. To celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Park Service, REI created a co-op Guide to the National Parks, a crowdsourced app that offers shared wisdom about park experiences.

Since 1976, the company’s donated over $77 million to the National Park Foundation and other nonprofits to help maintain outside recreational spaces. And at a recent REI leadership conference in Oregon, 300 leaders built five miles of a mountain-bike trail that didn’t exist before.

Employees also receive two “Yay Days” per year, which are spent doing anything outdoors that makes them inspired.

F:PHOTOMediaFactory ActionsRequests DropBox47266#salesforceGiving_Back2.jpg
A Salesforce employee participates in Global Volunteer Week.
| Credit: Salesforce

Salesforce: Last year, the cloud-computing company donated $45.7 million to charity, matching $6.6 million in employee donations. And employees are encouraged to give back with their time as well; they receive seven paid days off to volunteer each year. CEO Marc Benioff, who often starts meetings with mindful meditation, leads by example when it comes to generosity. One example: He donated $100 million to construct a children’s hospital in San Francisco.

“The business of business is improving the state of the world and creating equality for all,” Benioff says. “This is a radical change in the way businesses operate and leaders think. I am very proud and honored to be part of this amazing company.”

Workday sent in by Allison Kubota
Employees at Workday’s headquarters in Pleasanton, Calif., take part in a ping-pong tournament.

Workday: The information technology firm encourages employees to get out and see the world – and they’ll help with that. Its Sprint to Europe program lets U.S.-based engineers go to work in one of their other offices in Dublin, Ireland or Munich for four weeks.

The program “gives employees a chance to expand their horizons and have some fun,” according to Workday.

A similar program, Sprint to California, allows workers from other parts of the globe to see what life is like at the company’s U.S. headquarters. As for the atmosphere around the office from day to day, one employee notes that “people genuinely care about each other here and want each other to succeed.”

VMware sent in by Price Peacock
Employees participate in VMware CLUB, a special recognition program created to thank top sales performers. In 2016, employees traveled to Beijing to help restore the crumbling Great Wall of China.

VMware.: The software company promotes volunteerism, or what they call “service learning” in its employees. A leadership development program called Service Learning Treks allows employees to cultivate a global mindset, expand their experience of diversity and develop a more reflective way of thinking.

Workers are allotted 40 hours a year for service learning to non-profit organizations.

“This was one of the main draws of why I first signed on with VMware,” a staffer says. “I have been able to put this time to good use by volunteering with organizations near and dear to my heart.”

SAPsent in by "Bird, Kathy"
Credit: SAP

SAP America: Turnover at the information technology firm is just 3 percent, thanks in part to programs such as the Social Sabbatical. This four-week assignment allows SAP’s key talents to work in highly diverse, international teams to solve business challenges. The sabbatical also strengthens leadership, industry sector know-how and cultural sensitivities. The company says it gives workers the chance to find balance by doing work they love but also serving a much greater good.

That balance is encouraged at SAP. As one person said, “I can work full-time here and feel valued, and also still be home to get my kids off to school in the morning.”