Ethisphere Institute identifies 135 of the World’s Most Ethical Companies

M&S, LinkedIn and Starbucks are among those named as the world's most ethical firms.

The Ethisphere Institute, an organisation that defines and measures corporate ethical standard, has named 135 companies spanning 23 countries and 57 industries as the 2018 World’s Most Ethical Companies.

Since 2007, Ethisphere has honoured those companies who recognise their critical role to influence and drive positive change in the business community and societies around the world and work to maximise their impact wherever possible.

Profound change

In 2017, Ethisphere said it saw a profound change in the discourse around the world, but as part of that disruption it also saw global companies emerge as society’s leading voice to advance the human condition.

Values-based leadership leaped to the forefront of business strategy, and companies increasingly discussed their purpose in broad, community-focused terms. Diversity and inclusion, investment and long-term commitment, and constructive use of a company’s voice are now the hallmarks of what stakeholders are expecting and investors are rewarding.

The 2018 World’s Most Ethical Companies responded to this opportunity with alacrity, according to Ethisphere. Record metrics of community support and innovative ways to engage and inspire employees, customers and stakeholders typified this year’s honoree.

Among this year’s honourees, to be officially announced at a New York gala on March 13, are M&S, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Salesforce, PepsiCo, Starbucks, Visa and Kellog’s.

Ethisphere CEO, Timothy Erblich, said: “Over the last 12 years, we have repeatedly seen that those companies who focus on transparency and authenticity are rewarded with the trust of their employees, their customers and their investors. While negative headlines might grab attention, the companies who support the rule of law and operate with decency and fair play around the globe will always succeed in the long term.

Ethisphere’s notion that financial value and ethics are inexorably tied together has been borne out through long-term tracking of how the stock prices of publicly traded honorees compare to the US Large Cap Index. The research found that listed World’s Most Ethical Companies outperformed the large cap sector over five years by 10.72% and over three years by 4.88%. Ethisphere refers to this as the Ethics Premium.

Dell Technologies Chairman and CEO, Michael Dell, said: “We are honoured to be listed among the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the fifth consecutive year.

“Ethics and integrity matter at Dell. We work hard to earn our customers’ trust, improve our communities and inspire our team members through sound, ethical decision-making. Because at Dell, how we do our work is just as important as the results we achieve.”

Volvo Cars president and CEO, Håkan Samuelsson, said: “Responsible business is a fundamental part of Volvo Cars’ culture and way of operating, and something we continuously promote internally as well as with our business partners

“An ethical approach to business is not only the right thing to do, but also brings financial value and helps attract and retain the best talent. We are proud that we have been recognised as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the second consecutive year.”

Grupo Bimbo CEO, Daniel Servitje, said: “Integrity should not only be understood as compliance with the law, rules and procedures; it goes beyond that—it is part of the culture. Ethics is good for business, as it strengthens morale, improves efficiency and sustains the most important asset for any market: trust.

Microsoft President, Brad Smith, said: “At Microsoft, trust and integrity are core to our values and critical to our success. We’re passionate about applying the power of technology to improve our world, and that starts with doing business in a way that builds and maintains trust with our customers.

“Microsoft is honored to be named once again to the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere because it reflects our passion to make a lasting impact on the world around us.”

The World’s Most Ethical Companies assessment is based upon the Ethisphere Institute’s Ethics Quotient (EQ) framework, which offers a quantitative way to assess a company’s performance in an objective, consistent and standardised manner. The information collected provides a comprehensive sampling of definitive criteria of core competencies rather than all aspects of corporate governance, risk, sustainability, compliance and ethics.

Scores are generated in five key categories: ethics and compliance program (35%), corporate citizenship and responsibility (20%), culture of ethics (20%), governance (15%), and leadership, innovation and reputation (10 percent). All companies who participate in the assessment process receive their scores, providing them with valuable insights into how they stack up against leading organisations.

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