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"World's Most Ethical Companies" named for 2012

By Jeaneane Payne

The research-based Ethisphere® Institute has named the "World's Most Ethical Companies" for 2012. Ethisphere® evaluates hundreds of companies, naming only those that surpass their industry peers to the "World's Most Ethical Companies" list.

Some of the companies making the list include Marriott International, Inc., Waste Management, and William E. Connor & Associates Ltd, the first Asia based company in the sourcing industry to receive the award. This year approximately 140 companies were named on the list. The Knoxville Daily Sun has featured a few of those companies.

For the fifth time, Marriott International, Inc. was recognized by the Ethisphere® Institute as one of the 2012 World's Most Ethical Companies. Ethisphere® said Marriott was selected for showing leadership in promoting ethical business standards.

Johnson Controls, a global diversified company in the building and automotive industries, has been named one of the "World's Most Ethical Companies" for the sixth consecutive year by the Ethisphere® Institute. Johnson Controls has 162,000 employees and serves customers in over 150 countries.

Waste Management was named as one of the 2012 World's Most Ethical (WME) Companies. This is the fifth year the company has been honored for promoting the highest of ethical standards. Out of a record number of nominations for the award, WM secured a spot on the list by implementing and maintaining business practices and initiatives that are instrumental to the company's success, benefit the community and raise the bar for ethical standards within the industry.

Based out of Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market, the nation's leading natural and organic supermarket, has made the list for the fourth time since 2007. Whole Foods was also ranked as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" in America by FORTUNE magazine for 15 consecutive years. The company had sales of over $10 billion in 2011 and currently has 317 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Also making the list was International Paper, a global paper and packaging company with manufacturing operations in North America, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Asia and North Africa.

For the sixth year in a row, Texas Instruments (TI) secured a spot on the list. "We take ethical leadership and corporate citizenship seriously at TI, and we're honored to be included again on this year's list," said David Reid, TI Vice President and Director of Ethics. "TI understands that ethical practices not only support a stronger and more solid business overall, but they benefit the community and raise the bar for ethics and integrity within the industry."

Making the list for the first time was Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., an international insurance brokerage and risk management services firm, headquartered in Itasca, Illinois. The company has operations in 17 countries and offers client-service capabilities in more than 110 countries around the world through a network of correspondent brokers and consultants.

William E. Connor & Associates Ltd, a global sourcing company based in Hong Kong secured a hard-earned spot on the list by employing and maintaining upright business practices and initiatives that are instrumental to the company's success; benefit the communities in which the company operates; and raise the bar for ethical standards within the industry.

Connor was founded in Tokyo in 1949 by William E. Connor Sr., who had served as a trade attache in the administration of General Douglas MacArthur after World War II. Recognizing Japan's enormous peacetime potential, Connor Sr., opened a purchasing office in Tokyo in 1949 dedicated to representing the interests of non-Japanese companies purchasing from Japan.

Connor overcame trade barriers, currency volatility, wars and political instability and grew his business in Asia. He made the foundation of his business that of providing top tier service with uncompromising integrity. He did not trade, broker, or sell merchandise to clients. Rather he provided a wholly transparent logistics framework that formed the foundation of long term sourcing partnerships. These partnerships enabled clients to source directly from factories, bypassing middlemen. This framework remains the cornerstone of Connor's philosophy.

Now headquartered in Hong Kong, Connor employs over 1,400 professionals in more than 35 locations across 20 countries around the world representing the procurement requirements of world recognized retailers and consumer brands on four continents. Many client partnerships have endured for decades, in part because Connor has never strayed from their core philosophy, of uncompromised transparency, ethic, and performance.

For the second consecutive year ManpowerGroup was named to this prestigious list, and was once again the only company in its industry recognized as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies. With over 60 years of experience, Manpower is a $22 billion company and maintains the world's largest and industry-leading network. It has 3,900 offices in over 80 countries and territories and serves 400,000 clients annually.

Making the list for the fourth time was Kellogg Company. Kellogg produces its brand in 18 countries with those brands being marketed in over 180 countries. "We are honored to be among the companies awarded with the World's Most Ethical Companies distinction for 2012," said John Bryant, president and CEO, Kellogg Company. "The award is a testament to the caliber of our employees and their dedication to being corporate leaders in business ethics and social responsibility. The legacy of strong ethics and corporate responsibility that began with our founder W.K. Kellogg more than 100 years ago continues to guide our company today and is embodied by our K Values, which shape our culture and guide the way we run our business."

Also making the list was OfficeMax which has 1,000 stores and 29,000 employees. Since 2007, OfficeMax Goodworks programs have served communities and schools, contributing more than $14 million in grants and supplies to support teachers and classrooms

Ethisphere is committed to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability. The World's Most Ethical (WME) Companies designation recognizes companies that truly go beyond making statements about doing business "ethically" and translate those words into action. WME honorees not only promote ethical business standards and practices internally, they exceed legal compliance minimums and shape future industry standards by introducing best practices today.

Published March 17, 2012


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