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Ethisphere Launches First Volume of the 2020 World’s Most Ethical Companies Insight Report Series

The Report Highlights How Leading Companies Remotely Manage a Global Program with Liaisons and the Role of Incentives and Transparency in Supporting an Ethical Culture

May 4, 2020 (Newswire) –​​The Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices, today announced the launch of volume one of its 2020 World’s Most Ethical Companies® Insights Report series. The report keys in on areas such as global program structure, the effective use of internal steering committees to broaden reach and impact across an organization, the role of ethics and compliance in the due diligence process of mergers and acquisitions, and why liaison and incentive programs matter to a fair and ethical culture.

The report is available at:

Through the World’s Most Ethical Companies process, Ethisphere annually recognizes a select group of companies with exceptional programs and practices. Grounded in Ethisphere’s proprietary Ethics Quotient®, the World’s Most Ethical Companies assessment process includes more than 200 data points on culture, environmental and social practices, ethics and compliance activities, governance, diversity, and initiatives to support a strong value chain. This is the 14th annual recognition of companies demonstrating their dedication to advancing integrity while enhancing business performance. In 2020, 132 honorees were recognized, representing 51 countries and 21 industries.

“During this time of unprecedented disruption, the role of ethics and compliance is more important than ever. As organizations move toward a ‘new normal,’ our hope is that these insights will inform ways to optimize program performance and support global operations,” said Erica Salmon Byrne, Executive Vice President, Data and Services, Ethisphere. “Communities, employees, and stakeholders are counting on companies to make decisions and take actions founded in integrity. The insights gleaned from the 2020 process reveal a global business community that is prepared to do its part with authenticity and—of utmost importance—transparency. That is as relevant today as ever.”

Key Findings:

  • Sharing data about reporting: According to the report, the number of World’s Most Ethical Companies that are actively sharing data and investigations results with their employee populations and, in some cases, the public at large, continues to grow.
    • 79 percent of honorees reported that they communicate information on the number, type, and results of reports and investigations to C-suite-level leaders beyond those involved in board reporting. This represents a four-time increase since 2016.
  • Role of ethics and compliance in strategic business decisions: The increasing influence of ethics and compliance remains tangible, with a 12-point increase since 2016 in the number of companies that solicit input from their ethics and compliance functions on decisions such as business development, mergers, divestitures, or entries into new markets.
  • Global compliance steering committee composition and meetings: 92 percent are cross-functional and 82 percent convene on a quarterly basis.
  • Equipping liaison programs with tools to increase the reach of ethics and compliance: 57 percent of honoree companies with liaison programs have incorporated software tools specific to ethics and compliance or governance, risk, and compliance. This represents a 15-point increase over 2019 honorees, suggesting such function-specific tools are gaining traction.​
  • Incentivizing employees who engage in ethical conduct or actively support compliance initiatives: 72 percent of honorees turn to awards and recognitions, while 42 percent add ethical business conduct as part of formal evaluations.

“The growing trend of data sharing with employees, company leaders, stakeholders and the general public is particularly encouraging as it suggests a greater willingness toward transparency in business dealings,” said Douglas Allen, Managing Director, Data and Services. “Companies shedding light on data that at one time was considered proprietary will serve the public well in producing a climate that will foster greater confidence in business integrity.”

All companies that participate in the annual World’s Most Ethical Companies process receive an analytical scorecard that provides a holistic assessment of where their programs stand against the demanding standards of leading companies. Ethisphere has compiled this valuable information for several years.

All Ethisphere research, content, and expertise, such as a recent special report about digital innovation, can be found on the Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA) member hub, which is made available to global members of BELA. To request guest access, please contact Executive Vice President Jonathan Whitacre at [email protected].

About Ethisphere 

The Ethisphere® Institute is the global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices that fuel corporate character, marketplace trust, and business success. Ethisphere has deep expertise in measuring and defining core ethics standards using data-driven insights that help companies enhance corporate character. Ethisphere honors superior achievement through its World’s Most Ethical Companies® recognition program, provides a community of industry experts with the Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA), and showcases trends and best practices in ethics with Ethisphere Magazine. Ethisphere also helps to advance business performance through data-driven assessments, benchmarking, and guidance. More information about Ethisphere can be found at


Media Contact:
​Aarti Maharaj​
​Director of Communications
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