Each year, the research-based Ethisphere Institute puts together a list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies, with the understanding that ethics and performance are two business values that are forever linked.
“Ethics are absolute. Business ethics are relational. And ethical leadership requires a position,” says Ethisphere. “The winners of the World’s Most Ethical Companies are the standouts. Each of these companies will have materially higher scores versus their competitors.”
Winners of the designation are chosen through a fairly simple process. Companies can submit a nomination if they feel they are worthy of the ranking and Ethisphere contacts companies that have received third-party nominations and winners of past years. Then, all nominated companies can submit an Ethics Quotient Survey. Ethisphere researches and verifies all information and conducts data analysis to determine the winners, using its definition of ethical business leadership, which includes its credo, “Good. Smart. Business. Profit.”
Although the key to ethics is putting fairness and positivity before profits, Ethisphere has proof that an investment in ethical practices can prove to be lucrative for businesses. The graph below shows how publically traded World’s Most Ethical Company honorees stack up against the S &P 500:
Overall, US companies dominate the list, but not across all industries. What’s the one category with multiple honorees and no US presence? Banking.
Here’s the full list of US-based companies that made the cut, across all industries. For Ethisphere’s complete global list, click here.
Aerospace: Rockwell Collins Inc., The Aerospace Corporation
Apparel: Gap, Patagonia, Timberland
Automotive: Cummins, Ford Motor Company, Johnson Controls
Business Services: Dun & Bradstreet, Noblis
Chemicals: Ecolab, JM Huber
Computer Hardware: Hitachi Data Systems
Computer Software: Adobe Systems, Microsoft, Salesforce.com, Symantec Corporation, Teradata Corporation
Construction and Engineering: Granite Construction, Parsons Corporation
Consumer Electronics: Xerox
Consumer Products: Colgate-Palmolive Company
Diversified Industries: General Electric Co.
Electronics and Semiconductors: Freescale Semiconductor, Texas Instruments
Energy and Utilities: NextEra Energy, Inc., Wisconsin Energy Corporation
Engineering and Design: AECOM Technology Corporation, CH2M Hill, Fluor Corporation
Environmental Services: Waste Management
Financial Services: American Express, NYSE Euronext, The Hartford Financial Services Group
Food and Beverage: General Mills, PepsiCo, Solae, Stonyfield Farm
Food Stores: Wegmans, Whole Foods Market
Forestry, Paper and Packaging: International Paper
Healthcare Services: Baptist Health South Florida, Hospital Corporation of America, Premier
Hotels, Travel and Hospitality: Kimpton Hotels, Marriot International, Wyndham Worldwide
Industrial Manufacturing: Caterpillar, Deere & Company, Eaton Corporation, Milliken & Company
Insurance: Aflac Incorporated, Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Co.
Medical Devices: Becton Dickinson
Real Estate: Jones Lang LaSalle
Restaurants and Cafes: Starbucks Coffee Company
Specialty Pharma: Medicis
Specialty Retail: Best Buy Co., Target, Ten Thousand Villages
Telecom Hardware: Avaya Inc., Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks
Telecom Services: T-Mobile USA
Transportation and Logistics: UPS