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The World's Most Ethical Companies

The Ethisphere Institute -- a think-tank that ponders best practices in business ethics and corporate responsibility -- recently came out with its 2009 list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. The list recognizes enterprises that promote ethical business standards and practices by going beyond legal minimums, introducing innovative ideas benefiting the public and forcing their competitors to follow suit. The 99 companies were selected based on a review of 10,000 companies, looking at their codes of ethics, litigation and regulatory histories, investment in innovation and sustainable business practices, activities designed to improve corporate citizenship and other factors.

This is the third year the institute is publishing the list. Forty-four companies have appeared all three years, including General Electric, American Express, PepsiCo, McDonalds, Starbucks and IKEA. Twenty-two companies appear on the list for the first time this year, including publishing giant Thomson Reuters.

In preparing the list, Ethisphere asked executives, general counsel and compliance officers at some of the selected companies to comment on how they promote ethics within their organizations. Among the tips offered by in-house counsel who responded were these:

  • Douglas G. Scrivner, general counsel, secretary and compliance officer at Accenture: "We aim to put ethics and compliance into the way our people work and lead. We seek to leverage existing processes, procedures, structures and functions to ensure the outcomes we are expecting and alignment with the goals of the organization."
  • Roderick A. Palmore, executive V.P, general counsel and chief compliance officer at General Mills: "A strong ethics and compliance program must feel culturally relevant to employees. A program that genuinely reflects the culture and values of a company helps employees understand and incorporate the messages of the program into their daily decisions. Employees experience them as part of the very fabric of the company’s culture."
  • Iskah C. Singh, deputy global code and compliance officer and associate general counsel at Unilever: "Our employee training and education program raises awareness and reinforces the values of the Code of Business Principles. Also, employees annually acknowledge understanding and compliance with our Code of Business Principles. In addition to traditional training modules, we have utilized smaller ‘Ethical Moments’ -- 3 to 5 minute clips -- to raise awareness and strengthen the open ethics and compliance environment."

More of their comments along with the full list of the selected companies can be seen at Ethisphere. For an earlier report on this blog about Ethisphere, see "The Business World's Most Ethical Lawyers."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on April 24, 2009 at 10:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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