2011 Most Ethical Companies

Which Companies are the World’s Most Ethical?

Which companies stand out as the world’s most ethical? The answer to that question depends on who you ask! Three reports posted at Ethisphere.com, MillwardBrown.com and Forbes.com reveal their perspectives and rankings.

Rankings By Industry, Country and Ethical Leadership

Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies 2011 at Ethisphere.com organizes the most ethical companies by industry and country.

The Forbes Top Brands Report at Forbes.com lets us choose how to see the rankings by clicking the term at the top of the table. You may choose to rank based on Trust, Ethical Leadership, Innovation, Revenue, Advertising Spending or Industry.  It is very interesting to see the names change when you compare the revenue rankings to the ethical leadership rankings.

Ethics Impacts Brand Value

The report “Brandz™ Top 100: Most Valuable Global Brands 2011″  at MillwardBrown.com includes interesting information about consumer trends and how ethical behavior impacts a company’s brand value.

Customers Increasingly Evaluate Based on Ethics

Customers shop globally now, and when they buy, they compare products more and more often based upon ethics. In addition to shopping cautiously during the recession when money is tight, there is also a trend toward thinking about how each purchase impacts the local community, the global community and the planet.

“The new ethos frowned on flaunting and encouraged awareness of how one’s purchases, whether diamonds from African mines or apparel stitched in Asian factories, impacted the environment and people all along the supply chain.”  “Brandz™ Top 100: Most Valuable Global Brands 2011″  MillwardBrown.com

Ethical Businesses Benefit From the New Ways Consumers Shop

I like the term “considered consumption” that Millward Brown uses to describe the change in consumer behavior.

Frugality eased last year, but consumers didn’t spend frivolously, suggesting that brands will continue to feel the impact of the recession-accelerated shift to considered – rather than conspicuous – consumption.  “Brandz™ Top 100: Most Valuable Global Brands 2011″  MillwardBrown.com

The Millward Brown report reminded me about these aspects of consumer behavior, which are also reasons why ethics matters in brand value:

  • Customers are thinking more before buying
  • They are considering more variables
  • They are making responsible consumption a priority
  • They value trust
  • They expect ethical behavior
  • They place their “vote” by purchasing from ethical companies
  • Word gets around when companies are responsible and offer a great value
Questions for Discussion
Clearly, customers are thinking more ethically and more globally when considering their buying options. We need to be prepared as business leaders, and we should know the answers to these questions:
1. How well is our business positioned to respond to the new ways customers shop?
2. How ethical is our brand?
3. What are we doing that we know could be handled more responsibly?
4. How can we improve our ethics in ways that will appeal to our customers, employees and partners?
5. How will we make leading responsibly in these areas of our business a top priority company-wide?

About the Author Linda Fisher Thornton is CEO/Owner of Leading in Context, a leadership development firm publishing learning tools that clarify what it means to lead ethically in a complex world. Her most recent publication is a Leading in Context™ Video called “The Evolving Leadership Context: Respectful Workplaces” which can be downloaded at LeadinginContext.com/Store.

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About Linda Fisher Thornton
Author of 7 Lenses, Speaker, Bringing Out the Best in People and Organizations Through Proactive Ethical Leadership, CEO Leading in Context, 2014 Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior, Adj. Assist. Prof. of Ethics and Leadership, UR SPCS

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