In a world where consumers are constantly barraged with how poorly corporations treat their customers, how they fail to deliver healthy or quality goods, how they swindle, are caught for malpractice, and how they can be portrayed as money-grubbing and unethical, there remain many organizations that maintain what the Ethisphere Institute likes to call “conscious capitalism” — or the integration of awareness and capitalism.
The Ethisphere Institute has named its honorees for the 2014 list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies — a list that represents 41 industries and 21 first-time honorees. It is an international compilation, with 2014 as the first year that the largest number of companies has been named to the list existing outside of the U.S.: 38 to be exact, emerging from 21 countries.
Some of the companies included are Gap Inc, Ford Motor Company, Xerox Corporation, Dell Inc, Google, Inc., Microsoft Corporation, Mattel, Inc., Visa Inc, Kellogg Company, and L’OREAL. The standards for evaluating these companies come from the Ethisphere Institute’s Ethics Quotient framework which “collects a comprehensive sampling of definitive date in core competencies,” according to Ethisphere’s official statement. The company’s methodology has evolved over its eight years of determining which global companies sustain ethical practices, and this year’s 144 honorees from all over the world have been evaluated on the following standards: 25 percent ethics and compliance program, 20 percent reputation, leadership and innovation, 10 percent governance, 25 percent corporate citizenship and responsibility, and 20 percent culture of ethics.
Of course there are many ways to develop an ethical and sound business team. InsideCounsel’s Stefanie Mosca writes that sometimes it comes from the top down: “There is no doubt that the foundation and longevity of any company begins with a strong and motivating senior management team, however, the companies that are most successful and boast the highest retention rates are those where the culture is embedded into each level of staffing and reflects the values and beliefs of the entire organization. If employees at all levels aren’t on the same page, it is clear that the executive team isn’t doing their job.”
Out of the myriad of ways, it is heartening to see a list of international companies making the cut.