2021 World’s Most Ethical Companies®:
Value Beyond Recognition

At Ethisphere, we are in what we call ‘World’s Most Ethical Companies season. In August, we launched the call for applications; companies are currently submitting requests for the application guide; and the deadline to submit is November 13th. We announce the honorees in the first quarter of 2021.

There are so many good reasons to apply. Here are three:

1.     It’s a Valuable Process

To apply for the World’s Most Ethical Companies recognition, each company takes Ethisphere’s Ethics Quotient® survey, a proprietary rating system that collects and objectively scores self-reported data in five weighted categories, including governance, leadership and reputation, ethics and compliance program, ethical culture, and environmental and social impact.

The process helps you to validate practices and identify gaps. It also provides an opportunity for cross-functional collaboration. Each applicant receives a follow-up report comparing your practices to those of honorees.

In the words of CareFirst President and CEO, Brian D. Pieninck, “The process is the way for us to determine whether or not we’re making the kind of progress we want to be making, as compared to other companies… The idea here is that we need to be able to hold up a lens—not just of ourselves and what we could imagine—we need a lens that incorporates many different other perspectives on this topic, that allows us to really get to a much better trajectory of improvement, constant improvement.”

Furthermore, the World’s Most Ethical Companies process is reviewed and updated every year. Inherent in completing the application, all participants gain access to Ethisphere’s latest thinking on what constitutes effective practices of the best companies.

Pieninck continues, “If you were to ask me what the benefit is, it’s what we learn every year. And every year we learn something about what others like us and those who are different than us are doing that we could be, should be, and need to be considering that we may not have fully considered.”

2.     Employees like Working for Companies that Reflect their Values

It makes sense that people like to work in a company that they trust to do the right thing. In an interview with Milliken CEO Halsey Cook, he mentioned the company’s World’s Most Ethical Companies recognition and said, “Seeing that award was an important part of what attracted me to the company.” He continued, “It means more than any other award we have received. It defines who we are… it is a proof point and manifestation of trying to do the right things and conduct business in an ethical manner.”

The data confirms it. Researchers at Stanford and the University of California, Santa Barbara polled 759 graduating Masters of Business Administration (MBA) students and found that nearly 9 out of 10 students would take a pay cut if it meant they could work for a fair and ethical firm.

3.     Ethics is Great for Business

World’s Most Ethical Companies Honorees enjoy an ‘ethics premium.’ In tracking how the stock prices of the publicly traded World’s Most Ethical Companies honorees compare to a comparable U.S. Large Cap Index, we found that listed honorees outperformed the large cap sector over five years by 13.5 percent and over three years by 10.5 percent.

This is echoed in statements by leading investors who are increasingly linking purpose and environmental, social and governance to long-term profitability.

We welcome the opportunity to talk with companies interested in the World’s Most Ethical Companies process. You can learn more at www.worldsmostethicalcompanies.com or get in touch with us at [email protected]ethisphere.com.

Ethics Quotient (EQ) Survey

Ethisphere’s Ethics Quotient® is a proprietary rating system that collects and objectively scores self-reported data in five weighted categories. Questions included in the Ethics Quotient are periodically reviewed and updated based on changing regulations, expectations, and best practices. Supporting documentation is required for consideration as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.

If you have any additional questions about the Ethics Quotient questions or process, please email us at:  [email protected].