How Business Is Shaping the Future of the World

OTIME Business was launched one year ago. This new brand focuses on the increasing influence of business on economic life and society. Led by executive editor John Simons, we’ve chronicled everything from the future of work to how American shoppers broke the supply chain. We’ve brought you inside the C-suites with interviews of major figures in the business world through our weekly Leadership Brief, and inside the rise of crypto and NFTs through staff writer Andrew R. Chow’s The Metaverse newsletter.

Since then, our business coverage has increased from only a small fraction to nearly one-fifth. That’s as it should be. The impact of business on the world has been greater than ever before, whether it’s the extraordinary withdrawal of Western corporations from Russia for war purposes or the amazing vaccines that pulled us out of the depths of pandemic. And certainly not always for the good, as reflected in Billy Perrigo’s ongoing reporting on the all-too-frequent prioritization of profits over people in the tech world.

You can see all that on display in our second annual TIME100 Companies list, included in this issue and featuring the world’s most influential businesses. Moderna, a pharmaceutical startup, and Astroscale, a space junk removal company, are both pushing the limits of technology in novel and potentially game-changing ways. Moderna is creating new mRNA vaccinations for many pathogens. Astroscale is working on technology to safely orbit satellites once their useful lives have ended.

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Some others, including United Airlines and Capital One took bold steps that challenged their competition. United Airlines became the first U.S. major airline to issue a mandate for employee vaccines and Capital One was recently the first to abolish overdraft and inadequate-fund fees. This is a common punishment for people who are unable to pay. Engine No. AMC and 1 are also changing the rules. Vivienne Walt, the editor of this issue reports that Engine No. 1 is quickly becoming the premier activist firm of the climate-capitalism movement, while AMC’s Adam Aron wrote the book—in real time—on how to respond to becoming a “meme stock,” by courting younger, digitally savvy investors to keep the company afloat. Others, such as Alphabet or Ford, have the size and reach to be titans that are influential by nature.

“Taken together, these 100 companies—and the executives who run them—represent the firms and leaders who are charting an essential path forward,” says senior editor Alex Fitzpatrick, who oversaw the list. As TIME’s business coverage continues throughout the year, these are the companies we’ll be watching most closely—and we suggest you do the same.

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