19 March 2011

The Ethisphere Institute, an NGO working internationally to promote business ethics and good corporate citizenship named the companies selected as the World’s Most Ethical Companies for 2012. This is the sixth year of the awards. There were 145 companies identified as “honorees” because of the example they set in promoting business standards which exceed legal minimums and the innovative ideas they have put in place that benefit the public.

The winning companies, being commercially successful, “…demonstrate how corporate citizenship is undoubtedly tied to the success of a company’s brand and bottom line”.

As in previous years the vast majority are US corporations. The percentage of non US companies has dropped from last year when 42 of 110 finalists were non US. This year there were 46 from the 145 finalists. Not surprising no New Zealand companies feature. As in 2011, the Banking category is notable for having largely non US banks. As in 2011 Westpac and National Australia Bank are selected among the five ethical banks on the list (although the ANZ Banking Group has been dropped this year.)

Twenty three of the honorees have been selected in each of the six years of the awards all are US companies.

Today, Ethisphere will honour the finalists in the Most Influential People in Business Ethics for 2011. The criteria seem less US-centric than in the assessment of the most ethical companies.

The “top names” include

1 Anna Hazare – who through hunger strikes drew attention to anti corruption campaigns in India
2 US District Court Judge Jed Rakoff who refused to accept a settlement proposed by the SEC with Citigroup for corrupt governance
3 Alexei Navalyn – a Russian writer of an anticorruption blog which influenced the anti-Putin demonstrations in Moscow.
4 Irving Picard, the trustee in the Madoff Ponzi case who recovered some of the funds corruptly obtained.
5 Jaoquim Almuina an OECD commissioner for championing anti trust enforcement around the world
8 Richard Alderman, the recently retired Director of the UK Serious Fraud Office
10 Nick Davies, the Guardian reporter responsible for maintaining a focus on the News of the World’s corrupt access to Police information and the use of phone hacking for information gathering.