New York -
March 15, 2011 – The Ethisphere Institute today announced its fifth annual selection of the World's Most Ethical Companies, highlighting 110 organizations that lead the way in promoting ethical business standards. These companies go beyond legal minimums, introduce innovative ideas benefiting the public and force their competitors to follow suit.

Further, the World's Most Ethical ("WME") Companies prove a clear correlation between ethical business practices and improved financial performance. WME companies, if indexed together, have routinely and significantly outpaced the S&P 500 every year since the recognition was developed in 2007. On average, the WME companies outperformed the S&P 500 by 7.3 percent each year. The 2011 World's Most Ethical Companies have already surpassed the S&P 500 year to date.

"The World's Most Ethical Companies, if indexed, would have significantly outperformed the S&P 500 by delivering a nearly 27 percent return to shareholders since 2007, compared to the S&P's negative 8.5 percent shareholder return during the same period, proving there is a strong correlation between a company's ethics program and its performance," said Alex Brigham, Executive Director of the Ethisphere Institute. "The recession has taken its toll on the economy, but we're on the road to recovery. These companies deserve recognition for setting the tone from the top and making high standards a priority. In addition to increased financial performance, ethical companies benefit from better brand reputation, consumer loyalty and higher employee retention rates. These companies understand that good, smart business leads to higher profits and stronger organizations."

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