World’s Most Ethical Companies of 2017

One of the best parts of competing in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is that students who make it to the finals get paired up with 3M scientists like Jeff Emslander, who loves science and mentoring kids. 2015 (Photo courtesy 3M) Posted for media use.

VIDEO: OPENING REMARKS by Ethisphere Chief Executive Officer, Timothy Erblich

By Sunny Lewis

NEW YORK, New York, March 14, 2017 ( News) – Under the banner “Good Ethics is Good Business,” the Ethisphere Institute Monday announced the 2017 list of World’s Most Ethical Companies ahead of its annual Global Ethics Summit, opening this week in New York City under a blanket of deep snow.

This year’s 124 honorees span five continents and hail from 19 countries, although the majority of them are based in the United States.

Fifty-two industry sectors are represented, from industrial manufacturing to beauty products. Among the 2017 list of honorees are 13 that have been on the list all of the 11 years it has been in existence, and eight that are recognized for the first-time.

To determine the World’s Most Ethical Companies, the Ethisphere Institute uses a proprietary rating system, the Ethics Quotient® framework, to assess an organization’s performance in an objective, consistent and standardized way.

Companies answer a list of 160 questions. 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, the Institute says.

The information supplied by each participating company is weighted into 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%).

After 11 years of selecting the World’s Most Ethical Companies, Ethisphere says its honorees have historically out-performed others financially, demonstrating the connection between good ethical practices and performance that is valued in the marketplace.

Ethisphere’s Chief Executive Officer Timothy Erblich said, “Over the last 11 years we have seen the shift in societal expectations, constant redefinition of laws and regulations and the geo-political climate. We have also seen how companies honored as the World’s Most Ethical respond to these challenges. They invest in their local communities around the world, embrace strategies of diversity and inclusion, and focus on long term-ism as a sustainable business advantage.

A sampling of comments from this year’s honorees shows the diversity of companies that nevertheless are united in their ethical values.

The 3M company, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, is on the list of World’s Most Ethical Companies for a fourth consecutive year. With 90,000 employees and offices around the world, 3M’s work covers 12 areas of expertise: automotive, commercial solutions, communications, consumer, design and construction, electronics, energy, health care, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, safety and transportation.

At 3M, it’s not enough to just win in business – it matters how you do it,” said Kristen Ludgate, 3M’s vice president of associate general counsel and chief compliance officer. “Customers want to do business with companies they can trust, and achieving that trust requires the help of all employees. I’m proud to say our people live 3M’s Code of Conduct  every day by making ethical decisions and speaking up if they aren’t sure what to do.

For the 11th consecutive year, Starbucks has been named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. Starbucks is one of only 13 companies to have earned the honor all 11 years that Ethisphere has published its rankings. The famous coffee company is also the only winner in the Specialty Eateries category.

Said Matthew Swaya, Starbucks senior vice president, deputy general counsel and chief ethics and compliance officer, “World’s Most Ethical Companies honors our partners (employees) and their commitment to integrity in the work they do every day. It is the connection between our culture and the values and behaviors of our people that leads to receiving this recognition.

From Rueil-Malmaison, France, Schneider Electric, a multinational corporation specializing in energy management and automation, has been named to the Most Ethical list for the seventh year.

With more than 160,000 employees in some 100 countries, Schneider Electric products include: building and home automation, switches and sockets, industrial safety and control systems, electric power distribution, electrical grid automation, Smart Grid, power and cooling for data centers.

We are particularly proud of being honored for the seventh year by Ethisphere Institute, and moreover to be among the only two companies recognized in our category. It proves that Schneider Electric considers very thoroughly ethical challenges and address them with impact and efficiency, in line with our corporate values,” said Emmanuel Babeau, deputy chief executive officer in charge of finance and legal affairs and chairman of the company’s Ethics & Responsibility Committee. “In so doing, our customers may be sure that our ethical standards are the highest possible and that we care for planet and society.”

And from Tokyo, Japan, the Kao Corporation is a long-term honoree. The company specializes in beauty products, human health care, fabric and home care, and environmentally-friendly chemicals. Through its portfolio of over 20 brands such as Attack, Bioré, Goldwell, Jergens, John Frieda, Kanebo, Laurier, Merries and Molton Brown, Kao is part of the everyday lives of people in Asia, Oceania, North America and Europe.

Kao President and CEO Michitaka Sawada declared that integrity guides the activities of Kao’s 33,000 employees. “We are honored to be recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for 11 consecutive years,” said Sawada. “For 130 years, we have upheld the value of integrity passed down from Kao’s founder. As a core value, we positioned integrity as the foundation of the Kao Group Mid-term Plan 2020, which started from this year.”

With a commitment to acting with integrity, a focus on ethical and responsible business practices, and a dedication to welcoming people to experience travel the way they want, New Jersey-based Wyndham Worldwide has been recognized as a 2017 World’s Most Ethical Company.

With 38,000 associates, Wyndham Worldwide is one of the largest global hospitality companies, offering hotels, vacation ownership, vacation exchange, holiday parks and managed home rentals – some 130,000 places to stay across more than 110 countries on six continents.

Ethical behavior is the lens through which we make decisions and anchor our commitment to each other, our partners, our customers, and our communities,” said Scott McLester, executive vice president and general counsel, Wyndham Worldwide. “From attracting global talent, to upholding the Count On Me! commitment and ethical business principles, we ensure our global network is comprised of good corporate citizens.

From its base in Scottsdale, Arizona, Ethisphere works with a Strategic Advisory Board that helps define how companies can assess and refine their approaches to and investments in actions and policies that influence business ethics in an ever-challenging global environment.

Ethisphere also works with a Methodology Advisory Panel made up of attorneys and government officials, professors and organization leaders who care about ethical and honest business practices. This panel reviews and refines the Ethics Quotient survey and World’s Most Ethical Companies Methodology to ensure they remain relevant.

Advisory Panel members are not involved in the honoree selection process, and all input and feedback provided to Ethisphere are reflective of each member’s personal viewpoint.

This year, for the first time, Ethisphere is offering “early insight” into the data from the World’s Most Ethical Companies. The insight is focused on key areas where the Institute saw important changes or interesting developments during this year’s WMEC process.

Best practices and insights from the 2017 honorees will be released in a series of infographics and research throughout the year.

The Institute’s associated membership group, the Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA), is a forum for business ethics that includes more than 200 corporations, universities and institutions. BELA is dedicated to the development and advancement of members through increased efficiency, innovation, tools, mentoring, advice, and career opportunities. Ethisphere Magazine, which publishes the World’s Most Ethical Companies® Ranking, is the quarterly publication of the Institute.

Featured Image: Ethisphere’s Chief Executive Officer Timothy Erblich, courtesy image from Ethisphere Institute.

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