BCG Henderson Institute

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Economic volatility and geopolitical uncertainty have roiled the markets all year. The causes are many, as new crises have continued to unfold: the war in Ukraine, with ensuing inflation and recession fears; the “tech crash” and the rising interest rates that fueled it; rising tensions between the U.S. and China; and the recent horrors in the Middle East.

Crises can be extraordinary opportunities for businesses to lay the foundations for robust growth. Gaining perspective on their impact, however, has become harder than ever. Will business leaders shift their focus from long-term growth toward short-term profitability? Will the tech sector continue to be a growth engine? Will China’s economy rebound? And how will all this interplay with longer-reaching issues like climate change?

To help investors cut through this kind of noise, Boston Consulting Group and Fortune teamed up in 2017 to create the Future 50. Our ranking assesses the long-term revenue growth prospects of more than 1,700 of the world’s largest public companies—judging them by a measure we call vitality. Our vitality index is based on two complementary pillars: a top-down, market-based assessment of a company’s growth potential, and a bottom-up analysis of its capacity to deliver, based on financial and nonfinancial metrics—including long-term strategic orientation, technology and investments, people, and structure. These factors are weighted based on their contribution to long-term growth using an AI model, and boiled down to a vitality score. (Read more on our methodology here.)

Over time, the Future 50 has delivered consistently on its revenue-growth potential, with all of our past cohorts beating the broader market on growth. Over the longer term, outperformance in growth translates into superior returns. However, this is not a linear process, since total shareholder returns display significant volatility over time. Accordingly, our 2017, 2018, and 2019 cohorts have outperformed the market in returns, while the 2020 and 2021 cohorts lag behind, at least for now.

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