SAS and IBM are among the top 50 companies who make the “Change the World” list, citing their social impact, as selected by Fortune magazine.

Cary-based SAS came in at No. 12, adding another honor to the privately held software firm that is often cited as a top workplace for employees and other qualities such as sustainability.

IBM ranked No. 35.

Fortune disclosed the list, which also includes six smaller companies cited as “rising stars,” early Thursday. (Specific selection criteria is included below.)

These firms “are tackling problems obvious and not-so-obvious—from Accenture, which is using data to reduce E.R. visits, to DSM, a Dutch life sciences company, that is fighting greenhouse gas emissions from a notorious source: cow flatulence,” Fortune declared.

“They include IBM, which is helping urban high schools close the STEM skills gap, and 23andMe, which is empowering consumers to learn about their genetic risks—and the lifestyle choices they can make, in some cases, to lower them.”

SAS CEO and co-founder Jim Goodnight praised his employees for the firm’s selection.

“Our employees are passionate about what they do,” Goodnight said in a statement.

“They crave challenging work, and they want to make a difference in the world. It is an honor for their efforts to be recognized among others that share a goal of effecting change in the world.”

SAS noted that “whether fighting cancer or protecting endangered species; enabling the visually impaired to “see” graphics through sonification or changing the lives of Ghana women by teaching them how to code software, SAS and its employees strive to change the world for the better.”

IBM operates one of its largest campuses in RTP and employs several thousand people across the state.

Fortune’s criteria

“We prioritize companies with annual revenues of $1 billion or more,” Fortune explained.

“The initial solicitation and assessment of nominees is conducted in partnership with FSG, a nonprofit social-impact consulting firm; the Shared Value Initiative, a global platform for organizations seeking business solutions to social challenges; and Professor Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School. Fortune writers and editors then evaluate and rank the companies by these three factors:

1. Measurable social impact: We consider the reach, nature, and durability of the company’s impact on one or more specific societal problems. This category receives extra weight.

2. Business results: We consider the benefit the socially impactful work brings to the company. Profitability and contribution to shareholder value outweigh benefits to the company’s reputation.

3. Degree of innovation: We consider how innovative the company’s effort is relative to that of others in its industry and whether ­other companies have followed its example.

Source: Fortune

Read more at: