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Visa, Sherwin-Williams Join Most Ethical Companies List

A total of 138 companies have made the World’s Most Ethical (WME) Companies List, an annual designation recognizing companies that consistently translate business ethics rhetoric into action.

To compile the list, U.S.-based think tank Ethisphere reviewed companies using a rating system called the Ethics Quotient, which consists of a series of multiple-choice questions. The organization narrowed the list by reviewing companies’ codes of ethics and litigation, regulatory infraction records and sustainable business practices.

This year seven fewer companies made the list from 2012’s total of 145, but Ethisphere says a record number of companies applied in 2013.

Visa and Sherwin-Williams made the list for the first time; however, Patagonia, Timberland, Costco and Best Buy were some major brands to fall off the ranking. Starbucks and American Express were among the 15 companies to make the list for seven consecutive years.

Patagonia recently announced that this fall it will launch a two-year responsible economy campaign designed to find new success metrics unshackled from selling more goods and services. Last year, the company became the first in California to choose to be a “benefit corporation,” a legal status giving companies legal cover to value sustainability benefits over financial gain. 

GE and eBay also appeared on this year’s list — the two recently made the top five of the SMI-Wizness Social Media Sustainability Index 2012, an annual review examining how major firms use social media to communicate sustainability and corporate responsibility released last month.

While a majority of the winners were U.S.-based, 40 hailed from outside the country, including firms in Switzerland, Ireland, France, Panama, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan and India. 

Bart King is the principal and founder of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. Follow him @bart_king and on LinkedIn.

[Read more about Bart King]

Mike Hower is Marketing Communications Manager at Carbon Lighthouse. With a background on both sides of the communications podium — as a journalist and strategic communicator — he is committed to helping organizations address climate change through sustainability innovation. Previously,…
[Read more about Mike Hower]

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