A total of 131 companies across 21 countries have been named as 2016 World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute, an organization that measures companies’ corporate ethical practices. This is the tenth year the organization published its list of companies that it says demonstrates leadership in areas of integrity, transparency and citizenship.
Among the list are nearly 100 companies based in the United States, spanning industries such as retail, industrial manufacturing, technology and logistics and transportation. Names like Petco, MasterCard, UPS and Dell made the rankings. Many of the companies also have made Ethisphere’s ranking every year since the organization created the list 10 years ago. These include Aflac, GE and Starbucks. You can check out the full list on the Ethisphere website.
To determine which companies will make the list for most ethical organizations each year, Ethisphere uses its own rating system called the corporate “Ethics Quotient” (EQ). Companies in the running must answer a questionnaire of multiple-choice questions created by Ethisphere’s own legal and compliance professionals and the “Methodology Advisory Panel” made of experts in field such as law, corporate ethics and governance. Ethisphere said its questionnaire is regularly reviewed, and in 2016, the organization made additions to address the growing issues of cybersecurity and data privacy.
Following the questionnaire, companies may be asked to submit documentation that supports the answers they provided. A review process of the company and its history ends in a verified EQ score. Things taken into account to determine a company’s EQ score is its ethics and compliance program, its corporate citizen and responsibility, its culture of ethics, governance and leadership, innovation and reputation. These categories are weighted, too, with ethics and compliance accounting for the largest chunk (35%) of the EQ score, for instance.
Companies that enter for a chance to be listed as a top ethical company by Ethisphere must pay a fee between $1,000 and $1,500, based on the company’s corporate revenue.
Ethisphere says the companies that make its list “raise the bar for corporate behavior” and represent the new standard for sustainable business practices. The organization also said that honorees on its “most ethical” lists have historically outperformed peers financially, showing there is a link between business performance and ethical business practices.